Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer!

Eeeeeeee, I'm so excited!!! My (3rd) wedding anniversary was September 2nd and my husband bought me a KitchenAid food processor (which is what I asked for, really!). He said it was a smaller model than he wanted to buy, though, and that he was originally going to buy me a stand mixer. He told me that I should take the processor back to Target and exchange it for whichever appliance I wanted more, so after a few days of thinking, I returned it and came home with this baby:

I'm so excited to start using it! I'll have to bake something just so I can use it :).  I'm even more excited because I was able to get a special "Cook for the Cure" edition, which means a $40 donation will be made to the Susan G Komen (breast cancer research) foundation from my purchase.  I got it on sale because it was on closeout, but I think it's really cool... it has a pretty pink stripe on it :D.

Anyway, I just had to share this with you and thank my amazing husband for this great gift.  I originally had this on our wedding registry and since then it's been on every birthday and Christmas list for the past 3 years :P.  Having this will make baking so much easier, especially when Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, because I always find myself trying to make about 10 different things at the same time :).

What's your favorite appliance or tool to use when baking?  Do you have a favorite brand?  I've been really pleased with the quality of KitchenAid products so far :).  I hope this lives up to my expectations!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mom's Sugar Cookies!

I have made these quite a few times this year for church events and other get-togethers and they're always a huge hit :). They take some time and work, but they're worth it!!!

1 cup butter - softened
1/2 cup shortening (I didn't say they were healthy)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/4 tsp. lemon extract (the secret ingredient!)
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking POWDER (not soda!!!)
2 tsp. salt

This makes a lot of cookies so cut it in half if you'd like :).

Blend butter & shortening, sugar, eggs, and lemon extract. Stir in flour, baking powder, & salt. Cover & chill for at least 1 hour.

Roll out on a flour-covered surface (I use my kitchen countertop), and use cookie cutters or a round cup to cut into shapes.

Bake in the oven at 350* for about 9-11 minutes or until they're starting to get golden brown around the edges. If they cook too long, they will be crunchy and not quite as good, so keep an eye on them.

Allow them to cool before frosting. My mom makes her frosting out of powdered sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and food coloring, but by the time I'm finished mixing and baking the cookies, I usually resort to using a container of Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines frosting and I also like to add sprinkles :D. They make me feel like a kid again!

Lex's Famous Seak Rub

Well... it's famous in our house :). I've been experimenting with marinades and rubs for the past 6 months or so and this one really is a winner. I was a little worried about the ones I made with a significant amount of brown sugar, but this one doesn't seem to thicken or stick to the pan/grill really at all.

Here are all of the spices needed for the rub... very simple!

Just in case you can't see all of them (sorry for the poor picture quality), they are as follows: minced garlic, black pepper, Lawry's Seasoning Salt, Onion Powder, Parsley flakes, and Brown Sugar. I usually just throw things into a bowl without measuring, but for the sake of sharing it with you, I tried to estimate amounts when I made it for tonight's dinner :).

For 2- 10oz. steaks or 1- 22oz. flat iron steak (what I made tonight):

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Lawry's seasoning salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/8 tsp. (or less = a "dash") black pepper

I stir all of this together in a bowl with a fork and this is how it should look:

In a baking dish or tupperware or any other container you can seal, place the steak and sprinkle half of the rub on one side. Use your fingers to massage it into the meat, taking care to cover the entire surface. Turn steak over and use the rest of the rub.

Seal the steak (tupperware lid, plastic wrap, and foil are all good options) in the container of your choice and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When it's ready, cook to your desired done-ness (yes, I just made up the word), and eat. Our favorite ways to cook it are 1) on our gas grill outside (amazing flavor!), and 2) broiling in the oven for 15 minutes (without turning the steak - will be on the rare side of medium-rare).

Good luck! Let me know if you try it and what you think :).