The Orange Door

Life in the little house with the colourful entry

9. November 2014 18:29
by Jenny
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Cream of Asparagus Soup

9. November 2014 18:29 by Jenny | 0 Comments

This is what happens when your husband decides to buy two bunches of asparagus for dinner and promptly forgets about the second one. And look, a photo!

 

Cream of Asparagus Soup

  • oil or butter for pan (I used olive oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb asparagus, chopped, reserve tips
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  1. Chop everything up.
  2. Bring stock to a boil in one pan (or thaw and boil in the microwave, in my case!).
  3. In another, heat oil. Add onions and garlic. Heat approx. 10 minutes until soft.
  4. Add asparagus and 2 slices prosciutto and heat until soft. Approx 5 minutes.
  5. Add basil for 30 seconds before removing from heat.
  6. Put asparagus mixture into blender. Add broth as needed to help puree.
  7. Transfer puree back to pan. Rinse blender with remaining stock and add to pan.
  8. Add cream and asparagus tips. Heat until tips are cooked.
  9. Serve warm; sprinkle remaining prosciutto on top.

To make this dairy free I used olive oil (would have preferred butter) and a soy coffee creamer in place of milk/cream.

7. August 2014 15:08
by Jenny
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Baby Boy Banner printable

7. August 2014 15:08 by Jenny | 0 Comments

We've had a couple new pets at my office recently, and have been throwing small "showers" for the new puppy/kitten daddies. I did up the banner for baby boy pug puppy's daddy and thought it turned out really well. I Inserted a Shape in Word and then applied some formatting to it to get pretty colours (Text Box Styles), add text (Insert Shapes), and then rotate the font to the right direction (Text; I also could have rotated the banner under Arrange and added the text, but this made cutting a bit easier). Next came formatting the text and copy and pasted it for every letter I needed before changing the letters and hitting print. Some quick cutting and making a ribbon out of scotch tape and a simple, pretty banner was ready!

Of course, I forgot to take pictures, but here are the templates!

Word Docx (12.85 kb) or PDF (92.45 kb)

7. July 2014 09:28
by Jenny
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New Addiction: Pocket scrapbooking

7. July 2014 09:28 by Jenny | 0 Comments

I have a new addiction and I've already sunk way too much money in to it... but it's getting me back into something I love!

About a year ago my girlfriend over at Miss Magoo Scraps got in to Project Life and the pocket scrapbooking style of scrapbooking. It has been YEARS since I did any scrapbooking, and as much as I enjoy it, as a high school and university student you don’t really get deep in to it. A lot has changed over the years, and time is much more limited than it was during those days (and even then I struggled to find the time to assemble pages!), so pocket scrapbooking seems like a great way to get our lives down on paper.

The general gist of it is you get a binder, some pocket pages, your photos, and the cards and start assembling. You probably want a good journaling pen, too, so you can write messages on all the journal cards. I’m not a journaller, so that part is going to be a challenge for me to get in to. I’ve already told Ryan that he gets to help with that part! I've put together a cover page for Baby Girl's first album and am looking forward to putting together more soon. I've bought a couple core kits and a half dozen sets of theme cards from Michaels, as well as some sets from Miss Magoo and a couple 1/3 core kits online. I'm waiting on the last of it to arrive so I can organize, and then it's time to get scrapping!

13. May 2014 15:46
by Jenny
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Balloon Party: The Cake

13. May 2014 15:46 by Jenny | 0 Comments

Having a blog is a great way to organize your thoughts! I'm going to keep updating this post as I figure this key element out.

Baby Girl has a dairy allergy, and I suspect an egg allergy, which makes the whole cake thing a bit challenging. There is a really popular Wacky Cake out there, but it uses cocoa powder, which I'm not too keen on. One, I don't like chocolate cake, and two, last time she had any caffeine (I had an Earl Grey soy latte at 7pm while nursing), she was wired until 3am. Now, she was three weeks old at the time, but it's not an experience I want to repeat! So no cocoa powder, and I don't know how integral to the recipe it is.

Cake trial number one: Pinterest lead me to a Vanilla Sponge Cake that can be made gluten, dairy, egg, nut, and pretty much all allergen free. I'm going to make this for desert when we have Ryan's expectant godsister and her hubby over to check out some of my baby carriers (I may have a bit of a carrier problem...). Hopefully this works and we'll be all set. If not, I have a box of my favourite "looks like you spent hours instead of less time than it takes the oven to heat up" desert on hand.

Cake colouring: Another Pinterest find (what part of this party didn't get it's source from Pinterest? Oh, right, the movie!), I want to make it a rainbow cake, without any food colouring.

Frosting: I am not a cake decorator. Any time I've tried to ice something in the past it has gone horribly wrong. And yet, I still wanted to give it a shot. I found a buttercream recipe I could adapt to be dairy free (what? buttercream doesn't actually have butterjQuery15206313854226691823_1400019203538? I had no clue!). And as lovely as the Hydrangea frosting is, I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off, so I went with the much more popular (and simple, and supposedly super quick) rose design. I also love her video tutorial. I need to make a trip to Michaels to pick up some piping bags and an "M1" tip and I'll give it a try! Wish me luck (I'm going to need it!).

 

Cake One Results: It was a bit oily, insanely sweet, and a little dense, but I think I can work with this recipe. The icing was really oily, so I'm going to experiment with mixing shortening and Earth Balance spread.

Cake trial number two: My girlfriend wanted to see how I did the roses, so I whipped up a second cake over the weekend. This time I used club soda instead of water, apple sauce in place of the oil, and reduced the sugar by a quarter cup. The cake ended up quite dense and not sweet enough. The icing wasn't as thick as it should have been, so I need to play with the ratios a bit more.

Cake trial number three: I made this cake for Baby Girl's one year photo shoot/cake smash. I went back to water, split the oil/apple sauce 50/50, and increased the sugar slightly. I was pretty happy with the cake, but still found it dense. The joys of not being able to cook with egg! I tried colouring the icing using blended strawberries and it was a complete disaster. I had to start over from scratch with zero time left.

The final cake: I made both a sheet cake (double batch) and a "smash" cake for Baby Girl. During the week between cake three and her party we discovered that eggs were okay, so I decided to ditch the oil/apple sauce struggle and just use egg, which really helped the fluff factor (though it is still a pound cake!). Icing wasn't great again. I didn't tint the cake, so I coloured the cake with some liquid dye I had (after the disaster with cake three I wasn't fussing with alternative colouring sources). I made the icing slightly too runny this time. I iced the cake on Saturday night and by the party on Sunday the roses on the side of the smash cake had slumped a little.

 

Final opinion: I am not a cake person! I'll probably switch to pies or other deserts after this. No one cares about a two year old doing a cake smash, thankfully. The cake, however, was a huge hit.

 

Some other links that caught my eye include:

23. April 2014 10:43
by Jenny
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Balloon Party: Colouring table

23. April 2014 10:43 by Jenny | 0 Comments

Colouring is such an easy way to entertain little kids! A quick search and a few clicks and I was able to print off some pages for the kids at the part to colour. I hit up Micheals on a 50% off Crayola day and picked up a 96 pack of crayons, and some stickers from the dollar store as well. I have a few little plastic containers in my craft room (intended for sparkles or embossing powder, but I haven't put them to use yet) that I'll split the supplies between and we'll cover the table in paper from the Ikea Mala paper roll, which I'll use on the easel when our daughter is a little older. This is a quick way to entertain kids at a primarily adult party (it's for a one year old, I'm not used to entertaining the 2-5 range yet!) that isn't going to be terribly expensive. Here are some of the pictures I picked out, and links to the sources.

28. December 2013 00:08
by Jenny
2 Comments

Christmas morning dairy free overnight Caramel French Toast

28. December 2013 00:08 by Jenny | 2 Comments

My family does Christmas morning at my parents' house each year. We do a yummy brunch while opening gifts. In previous years I've made this coffee cake, but wanted to do something different this year. Also, being dairy free, I was worried about finding frozen yeast rolls I could eat.

For several years I've eyed Pioneer Woman's cinnamon buns, but they look like too much work (especially when we are hosting Ryan's mom for dinner on Christmas Eve, when I should be preparing it). And there is a lot of butter in that recipe! Any time I see an overnight/wifesaver type of recipe pop up on Pinterest I add it to my Christmas board, so after some browsing of the options I came across this Overnight Caramel French Toast. It does call for a bit of dairy, and the heavy cream was concerning, but I was able to find substitutions for everything!

Dairy Free Overnight French Toast
modified from Six Sisters' Stuff

Topping:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons dairy free margarine (I used Earth Balance buttery spread)
  • 1/3 cup less a tablespoon soy coffee cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Optional: crushed nuts (pecans or walnuts would be good)

French Toast:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup dairy free milk (or use the coffee cream if you won't have any other use for it)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dairy free bread slices to fill your pan (I found a nice airy artisan bread at my local grocery store with lots of holes to sop up the batter)

Directions:

  1. Coat a non-stick 9x13 baking pan with something to keep this from sticking. Yes, it's that sticky. I did a light coat of olive oil and we had issues. So don't skimp, especially on the sides.
  2. In a 2 quart saucepan mix and heat the caramel sauce until smooth. Don't boil it! Transfer into the baking pan.
  3. In a bowl that will fit your bread nicely (to sop up the very last bit of egg batter), mix the French Toast ingredients (except the bread). Dip your bread to get it sopping wet and transfer to the baking pan. I placed mine on a 45 degree angle so I could get more bread in, the original recipe placed them flat. I think there is enough caramel sauce you can fit in the extra bread and still have lots, but feel free to be caramel greedy.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes at 400 F until bubbly and toast is golden brown.
  6. Let stand 3 minutes. Place a serving tray over top of the pan and invert so if flops out and the caramel goodness is now on top. Scrape any caramel still in the pan over top. Serve immediately (as if you could resist).

If I make this again (and I am very tempted to), I will add a teaspoon or two (or five - I'm an addict) of cinnamon to the French Toast batter, as I found the bread a bit lacking in flavour. I'm not a fan of nutmeg or I'd also add that.

Sorry for no photo, it was quickly devoured!

27. December 2013 20:04
by Jenny
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Christmas Baking: Date squares

27. December 2013 20:04 by Jenny | 0 Comments

Growing up, his grandmother's date squares were one of my dad's favourite treats. These super sweet goodies were also one of my favourites. We now make three pans of them; one for each household, and they all quickly disappear!

Oatmeal Date Cake (Date Squares)

2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lard (shortening)
1/2 cup sour milk
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix all together. Split in two. Press half into bottom of 13x9x2 inch pan. Spread filling. Put rest on top.

Filling:
1 lb dates
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

Boil until mushy.

27. December 2013 19:54
by Jenny
1 Comments

Christmas Baking: Butter tarts

27. December 2013 19:54 by Jenny | 1 Comments

My maternal grandmother made the most amazing, runny butter tarts, and I was lucky enough to get a copy of her recipe before she passed away ten years ago. I've actually had to share it with a few of my relatives because they'd lost their copies. This year my dad substituted maple syrup for the corn syrup. The tarts ended up a bit less runny, but super tasty. I'm usually lazy and use frozen tart shells, but I forgot them at home this year (we bake at my parents'), so I actually made pastry for them! Very indulgent of my father and husband (as they are the primary eaters, since I can't have dairy this year).

Butter Tarts

egg
1/3 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar (packed)
1/4 c corn syrup (or maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
nuts, raisins or both (or none - my choice!)

Beat egg.
Add butter and sugar and beat.
Add other stuff (except nuts & raisins).

Grandma plumped up raisins in hot water first (or you could use rum). She'd put nuts/raisins in tart shells and spooned the wet mixture on top. For yummiest results you want the wet mixture so it would just fill the tart shell, but kind of rounded. This will help avoid it boiling over the edge while cooking.

Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.
Lower temp to 350 until brown (for another 5 to 10 minutes) or done.


I discovered that my old oven doesn't actually get even close to as warm as it claims, so if you like them runny, cook at 325 for 8 minutes then lower to 300 for about 15-20. Thanks to that oven, I can't cook a "solid" butter tart! (Which rocks for my Dad who loves them runny, but Ryan doesn't like them quite that messy.)

27. December 2013 19:30
by Jenny
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Christmas Baking: Poppycock

27. December 2013 19:30 by Jenny | 0 Comments

I love how quick this recipe is to put together. It probably isn't the most Christmas-y of recipes, but that is when it's become a tradition to make it in my family. This would probably be great at Haloween as well.

Poppycock


1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup peanuts
8 cups popped popcorn (1/3 cup unpopped)

In three quart glass bowl, combine butter, sugar and syrup. Cook in microwave on High for 3 minutes.
Stir. Add baking soda and stir gently until light and foamy. Cook 1 ½ minutes.
Stir in nuts. Add popcorn (make sure you remove any un-popped kernels first) and stir until well coated. Cook 1 ½ minutes.
Spread mixture onto buttered parchment paper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to harden. Loosen mixture form parchment paper and break into pieces.

27. December 2013 19:05
by Jenny
1 Comments

Christmas Baking: Nuts and Bolts

27. December 2013 19:05 by Jenny | 1 Comments

Nuts and bolts have been a family favourite for years. We can often go through five batches of this in a holiday season. I've made them so many times it's almost become an art. I've put a bunch of my tips into this version of the recipe.

 

Nuts and Bolts

2 cups Shreddies/Chex
2 cups Cheerios
2.5 cups pretzels
1.5 cups peanuts

½ cup butter (melted)
1.5 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
¾ tsp garlic salt
¾ tsp celery salt

While butter is melting in the microwave, measure dry ingredients into a 9x13x2” pan. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic and celery salt to butter. Stir until combined. Drizzle over dry ingredients. Mix (get in there with your hands!). Bake at 250 for 30 minutes, stirring once. Stir after it comes out of the oven and again after about ten minutes of cooling for best flavour distribution.

I actually don’t own garlic salt and will substitute garlic powder. And I’m always a little heavy on the Worcester. Makes it taste better! I also strategically measure my ingredients in the reverse order to what they are listed above so the Chex and Cheerios get the most sauce.