in this post was the high price of peanut butter. There is not much to making peanut butter so you are getting just the picture above. I know, my creativity is just too much for you isn't it? Well, here is how you make your own peanut butter: find some peanuts that you like, put them in the food processor (or blender), and blend until smooth or as chunky as you want. I did need to add about a teaspoon of vegetable oil to get the peanut butter as smooth as we like it. I bought dry roasted unsalted peanuts that were mu local store brand. I paid $4.79 for 2 lbs of peanuts and I am expecting that to make me 3 small or two large jars. I also bought some natural almonds and made some almond butter. I believe I bought the bad they sell at Aldi for $5.00 to use as a test bag, and now that I know it works I might look for a source of natural almonds that I can buy in bulk. The almond butter is a little thicker than peanut butter but I love it on a whole grain english muffin for breakfast. It keeps me full for hours!
The other factor to include in this is I can make more healthy nut butters. For example I can add ground flax, etc to get more omega 3's. It may be a way to sneak some vitamins in if you have picky eaters. You can add sugar if you want to, I don't, but I know your children may not eat it without sugar. After eating it once or twice I really did not notice the lack of sugar anymore. Maybe you can add some and decrease it with each batch until the family is used to it? I store the butters in a glass jelly jar or larger canning jar in the refrigerator. I have not tried to can it in a water bath yet but plan to try, i will have to let you know how that works out.
If you give it a try please leave us a comment!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Anyway the picture above is from my niece's 5th birthday party. She loves Strawberry Shortcake and I offered to make her cake. I looked online for ideas and found mostly character cakes made from character pans but I wanted something different. Between the two of us we settled on a cake that looked like a strawberry with a Strawberry Shortcake doll next to it. I decided to surprise her and make Strawberry's house. This is not an exact replica, but she knew what it was and she loved it, and I had fun making it for her.
Not to discount my work, but it was not very difficult to make. I spent about 5 hours on the entire cake- including the sheet cake underneath(more pictures to follow). I decided to make the strawberry by cooking a cake in a glass bowl - you can use a mix or make it from scratch. This actually came out quite well, he cracks on the top as the cake cooked naturally formed the cake into a fat little strawberry shape. Then I bought a small bucket of red fondant from Michael's, and I used those 40% off coupons in the paper. Also, every time I make a purchase it seems to spit another coupon out, and no one seems to have an issue with me going through the line a few times. Fondant is not as hard as I thought- you warm it in the microwave according to the package directions and roll it out- I used a regular rolling pin, not a special fondant pin. I made sure it was large enough, and laid it over the strawberry, then I cut excess off the bottom, and smoothed lines with warm water. I used a simple leaf cookie cutter for the leaves, and rolled yellow fondant into tiny seeds with my fingers- that took the longest! Then I just let my imagination get carried away! I used candy from the dollar store and from my sister's stash to decorate. All I did was look up a photo online of the toy, and used my niece's toy as a model, and did my best. I used little raspberry candies for bushes, and tiny butterfly sprinkles in different spots on the flowers and leaves. Tootsie Rolls cut in half and dots are the walkway. Next to the house I rolled some blue fondant into an uneven shape and laid it out as a pond. I made a little fish from yellow fondant, and a lifesaver raft. I also took a stick of gum, rolled it on top to make a headrest, and made a raft for Strawberry Shortcake to swim in her blueberry pond! I am not quite comfortable yet making characters out of fondant or frosting, so I used my niece's doll as a decoration.
Are you still scared? Don't be. This is a great way to wow your child and you do not need to spend a lot of money. If you keep a well stocked pantry of ingredients or cake mixes bought with coupons you can save money right from the start. My sister keeps a basket of all of the candy the kids get from parties and goody bags, and you can do that too. You can purchase frosting and other items at stores like Michael's, Joann's, and AC Moore with weekly 40% off coupons. It takes just as much preparation in advance as it does to shop your regular weekly store deals.
As for fondant, I discovered this past week that if I have trouble molding it myself, I can use a cookie cutter, or a candy mold.
Now, had I thought a little more in advance I learned I could color my fondant with frosting coloring, and pop it into a candy mold to make flowers, leaves, etc. That is the point of this, you learn as you go! I encourage you to try some fun, creative new ideas for Halloween or the Holidays, and use the Wilton website for inspiration and assistance. I will post more cakes and ideas as I go....good luck!