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A Foodie’s best place to Shop and Beef Bourguignone


It’s Fall here in Northern California. The weather is changing from warm sunny days to windy and sometimes cool and rainy days. Yesterday it was on the cooler side, but still nice enough to go on a day trip. I drove to Oakland which is about 25 minutes from my home in Walnut Creek California. I took a tour of Rockridge Market Hall on College Avenue. This venue is fun for any food lover, especially me. I walked from the Coffee bar with my 2 shot espresso and steamed milk over to the bakery to scan the goods. I’m usually a Peet’s kind of girl, but this will have to do.



This place was bustling with activity from the vendors scooping fresh hot baked chicken from the ovens, to the customers selecting which salad or side dish they wanted to buy. This place is like Heaven on earth to me. They have everything from the best cheese varieties in the world to special organic olive oils like Bondolio https://www.bondolio.com/ made in Winters California. (Bondolio gives tours and tastings on Sunday’s in December and if you have 10 people, I learned they will fire up the pizza oven on site.)


I was impressed by the knowledgeable staff like Wendy who took me for a tour of the marketplace. She introduced me to jars of honey from all over the world. There was one called “Miele” that was made in Tuscany and it was most beautiful and feminine painting of dainty flowers on the jar. I can only imagine how sweet and lovely it tastes. “Alemany of Spain” had an orange blossom honey made with orange peel that would be delicious in a cup of herbal tea, and a thyme honey that is wonderful in marinades. They had other varietals from New Zealand and even a special one grown in the USA in Savannah Georgia called “Verdant Kitchen” that was infused with ginger and bottled like a maple syrup with fancy packaging.


The Pasta Shop displayed the most beautiful cheeses like the pasteurized Taleggio from Italy, a speckled blue Stilton from England and not to be forgotten the Bay Blue variety from Pt. Reyes Farmstead in California which I have visited and so many more.  I drooled over the perfectly half wrapped perfect sized baguette with aged cheddar melted inside. It tasted even better after the bakery slid it in the oven for a few minutes for me. I got excited when I saw the roasted hazelnuts and marcona almonds that were screaming to be purchased and served with a slab of Tomme de Gascogne from France. This cheese was semi soft and would spread easily on a crispy sesame seed cracker.

The Market Hall also sells canned Octopus in olive oil, stuffed calamari, canned sardines and mackerel fillets packed in wine and mild spices. They recommend serving these delicacies in a sandwich, in pasta, in mashed potatoes, or over tomato and saffron rice.  I also spotted smoked salmon in a jar or can from Alaska. There were Italian anchovies packed in salt and spicy peppers or paste which would work well to flavor stews and sauces and give them an umami flavor.

The store was adorned in cookbooks galore. I fingered through Nick Haddow’s “Milk Made” a book about cheese. It has 71 recipes and is written about how to choose your cheese, serve it and eat it for the best dinner parties. Great gift set ideas for whoever hosts your Thanksgiving feast this year including “Jamnation” damn good jam, the very popular Leonardi’s Balsamico, or why not bring a beautifully purple checkered wrapped Fig and Chocolate Panettone. I wanted one of everything, no kidding.


I did break down and buy a bar of Oakland’s own Barlovento’s Dark Chocolate studded with dried cherries and ate half of it before the end of the day. In my mind this is the best end of meal kind of treat. It melted in my mouth and provided the best tart little bite after chewing the biggest dried cherry I’ve ever seen in my life. I call myself a pastry chef, but I am truly a candy maker loving what chocolate does with caramel, orange flavors and liqueurs.

Which brings me to finish off the visit by taking in the meat market and fish market and watching the chef grill whole trout and then top with an olive and pepper gremolata. It looked like the perfect dinner to serve to my husband who would be looking for something like this at the end of his long hard day. I purchased a package of oxtails that would become a hearty meal for my family this week. Of course they were selling huge turkeys that are ready to be brined and baked, but I am still waiting for my second fridge to be fixed so that will have to wait. A dehydrated bone for my doggie Baxter was my last expense, making sure he would be happy to see me come home from my adventure.

Market Hall had so many other areas of interest like the wine section, the fresh flower stand, and the dried pasta section. In the pasta area, I browsed some I had never heard of like Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s Torchio, Orecchiette, Rigatoncini, and refrigerated pastas.  Chestnut flour was new and interesting. I had to ask what a chef might use that for. Wendy wasn’t sure exactly, but guessed one could make a pasta or special bread with it. And if you are wondering if they sell fresh home-made soup, well then you won’t be disappointed. I discovered clam chowder, vegetable beef, chicken noodle, and many more made daily. How does one decide? This place was phenomenal. I thought I was in the best culinary dream of my life.

I haven’t even spoken of the bakery counter which holds fresh pizzas, focaccia’s, the most desired loafs of bread like Multigrain Batard, Levain, Whole Grain Sourdough, Sicilian Green Olive and Cranberry Walnut, just to name a few. I wanted one of everything. My family LOVES hot bread. Doesn’t everyone?


Let me just say that I will be back to Market Hall in Oakland, California. Not only to deliver Wendy a jar of my very own home made apricot jam that I make every June. I go to Wolfe Ranch’s in Brentwood http://www.peterwolfe.com/ and buy their very ripe and juicy apricots found only an hour from Walnut Creek. Here’s a link to my older blog with the recipe http://letsmakemudpies.blogspot.com/2014/07/blenheim-apricot-preserves-make-summer.html.

This marketplace is a fun excursion to take your mom or best friend to. I only wish I lived closer so that I could walk there and find the best breakfast pastry, specialty coffee, lunch and dinner all in one trip. You must go. Here’s the link if you want to check it out: http://www.rockridgemarkethall.com/

Here is a recipe for a nice hearty meal on a cold autumn day.


Teri’s Beouf a la Bourguignonne 

3 1lbs. Chuck Beef cut into 2×1 ½ in pieces removing fat

1 ½ C Red Wine (I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon)

2 C Chicken broth ( boil bones for 1 hr w garlic, onion, carrot, celery, lemon after baking chicken and then remove meat from bones. Save chicken meat for another meal)

1 C. tomato puree

1 shallot minced

3 cloves garlic sliced

4 T bacon fat (I save the fat after baking bacon on trays and keep in fridge in a sealed jar)

4 T Unsalted Butter

4 T flour combined w 1 t Kosher salt and ½ t ground pepper

4 sprigs of parsley from garden chopped fine

3 sprigs of fresh thyme from garden. Remove leaves and discard stem

1 C. Beef bouillon or beef stock

1 C pearl onions (Buy in frozen vegie section in store)

1 ½ C quartered fresh button mushrooms

1/4 cup cherry preserves

2 T Brandy

1 T Worcestershire

1 T Mushroom Soy Sauce

1 C fresh or frozen peas

6 med white or red potatoes left whole

 

Directions:

Marinate beef in red wine for a few hours or overnight if possible. Remove beef onto a dry towel or paper towel and dry. Put flour salt and pepper mixture into a large bowl and add the pieces of beef. Coat on all sides and fry in small batches in a Le Creuset or heavy pan in butter and bacon fat. As they are brown, turn occasionally to brown on all sides. Remove and place onto a sheet pan lined w foil. When all are brown, place sheet pan in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile sauté mushrooms in butter and bacon fat. Add frozen pearl onions and add wine that meat was marinating in and cook down adding a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Cut up carrots in chunks, put on a sheet pan w olive oil salt and pepper and roast for 15 min.

After baking for 15 min, add beef into mushroom and onion mixture. Add shallots, garlic, tomato puree, chicken broth, beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, Worcestershire, mushroom soy sauce, cherry preserves, any leftover red wine and roasted carrots. Cook on med high heat on stove until boiling, then transfer to oven making sure to cover lid w foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hrs. Then add fresh peas and bake uncovered another 30 min.

Peel 6 white potatoes and boil on med high heat covered in H20 for 30 min until soft.

When serving, place 2 potatoes in a bowl. Add beef stew to cover potatoes.

Serves 6-8

Enjoy!

Teri

 

Revised recipe originally found in James Beard’s American Cookery. Also used ideas found on Julia Child’s recipe.

Recipes may not be republished without prior consent.

 

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Autumn, Beef Stew, Foodie, Uncategorized

 

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Teaching Preschool and Making Pumpkin Cake

Teaching Preschool and Making Pumpkin Cake


Today is the day. Today is the day I gain the courage to write another blog. For some reason I have been finding reasons not to write. Well, I was preoccupied with a full time job for the past year. From October until June I worked as a preschool teacher at a private school in Danville. It was a very exciting job. I worked alongside 2 other very talented and patient women who taught me how to take care of twenty-two 2-3 year olds five days a week. Some of them stayed all day from 7AM until 6PM and others only came half days from 8-12noon.

I taught music by singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “The Wheels on the Bus” to keep them entertained. We read books about outer space, transportation, Cat in The Hat books, books about summer vacations, books about a new baby brother or sister, and several others depending on the theme of the month.

I was challenged to come up with art ideas that looked cute on the wall for the parents to see and that also taught the kids how to paint, color, glue things, matching work sheets, and others. This was the hardest part of my job coming up with various ways to help the children learn art. I would search Pinterest for cute project ideas and spend hours preparing lessons. The trick was to get all 22 kids to do the project and we only had between 15 to 20 minutes to finish it. Try to get a 2 ½ year old interested in leaving the train table to sit and color something. Some could barely hold a crayon and a few of them would refuse and start to cry if we made them.

I loved watching these kids interact with their friends. There was always one or two that would interfere with circle time by yelling out something, laughing out loud, laying down, or taking off their shoes. These were usually boys and we had to sit them at a different table until they were ready to participate with the group. Two of them would work together to giggle across from one another (we could never allow them to sit together. That equaled TROUBLE). And during nap time these two boys couldn’t wait to wake up and make noises at each other so the others would wake up. It was constant chaos. They would try my patience day after day and yet they were only little guys so you couldn’t blame them. It was their job to make our lives miserable.

I would catch myself laughing out loud because it was hilarious trying to keep the class under control. Each student had their own personality. Some were extra smart and questions came easily to them. Others were delayed in their language and couldn’t speak. Some kids had strong accents and you could barely understand what they were saying. One girl would cry every morning when her mom dropped her off. And she didn’t just cry softly, she screamed. For 30 minutes! There was nothing anyone could do to keep her from screaming. She would stand at the window with her blankey and special stuffed animal and scream for her mom. It was horrible for everyone. It wasn’t until circle time would start when she would finally begin to settle in. But of course, she HAD to sit on the rainbow carpet square. You see each carpet square had a letter and a picture of something that began with that letter. Well this girl only liked that particular R rainbow carpet square and if she didn’t sit on it first and some other kid got it, she would start screaming again. And if I made another kid get off that rainbow so the girl would stop screaming, the other teachers would scold me and tell me she had to learn. She wasn’t allowed to get her way all the time. Oh boy, did that tork me in a big way. So what? Let the poor girl have the rainbow carpet. Big deal? It wasn’t easy to get along with how the other teachers wanted to run their classroom, but we did. We had to in order to keep the peace in front of the kids.

After circle time came snack time. We had things for them like apple juice, orange juice, milk or water to drink. We provided popcorn, graham crackers, French Toast sticks, Chex Mix, Cheerios, and other snack items like string cheese and yogurt. The kids were also offered orange slices, apple slices, bananas, apple sauce, canned peaches and canned pineapple. It was hard for some to stay in their chairs. One set of twins had to have their own gluten free snacks brought in, not because of a food allergy, but because the parents preferred it. These two didn’t sit for long and would run into the play room to play. We had to guide them back into their seats only to have to chase them around the tables after they got up again. One boy with special needs was never interested in eating snack. He would pour his juice or milk onto the table and then want more. The only time he was interested in food was when I brought in soup one day. I showed the kids how to make “Stone Soup” at circle time giving them opportunities to show their friends what celery, or what a carrot was. This boy sat at the table for over 30 minutes and ate the soup with a spoon. I was amazed, told his mother and she was happy about it.

After snack time, the kids lined up to go outside. Just getting these kids lined up was a chore in itself. The two trouble makers would climb into the playhouse, or onto a stack of chairs, or pull on the blinds. Others would push and shove or try to sneak out the door. We were only allowed to watch 12 children at a time by ourselves. One of us would be cleaning up snack and the other would be changing diapers and taking the kids to the bathroom. It was a hard to manage these youngsters and keep them safe. They couldn’t climb onto the changing table unless we were right there to catch them if they fell. We had to make sure they didn’t try to escape out the front door where they could easily run into the street parking lot. Many times I chased kids up the stairs into the library area because that was their favorite place to run away to. They would run up there during clean up time so they didn’t have to put away their toys.

I loved taking the kids outside. They wanted to ride their tricycles and police cars and fire engines. They wanted to climb the play structure and slip down the slide. The girls would hold hands with each other and play make believe with the toy dolls. Some would watch out the gate for their mommies and daddies and be sad. I was on a constant look out for keeping them safe from each other. Many would not watch where they were riding and almost hurt someone else. They would run at full speed not minding that there was a pole up ahead or a wall they could run into. Of course the mud puddles and wet grass were their favorite, but the parents never wanted them wet. One boy would love to play with chalk on the pavement, but would be covered with it by the end of the play period. He ruined his clothes by putting holes in the knees of his pants and tearing at them more when there was any site of a rip.

I remember having to help the kids pull up their pants after potty time cause the pants were one size too small. Many couldn’t button or snap either and would ask for help getting dressed. While outside we would search for lady bugs, or roly poly bugs, or airplanes flying high in the sky. We sang and danced “Mr Clown, Mr Clown, Who’s the funniest clown in town?” We had Easter egg hunts and collected the plastic eggs with paper bags that they personally decorated during art.

One of my students and his Mom


I could go on for days about my experiences teaching at Tassajara Learning Center, but I must get on with my day. It’s Halloween after all and I must prepare for the trick or treaters and get the dessert ready for our Octoberfest party tonight. I making a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting to bring and share. The recipe is originally used to make carrot cake, but substituting pumpkin works well too.

 

Be sure to follow my blog and comment. Would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Pumpkin Cake

 

Ingredients

2 C granulated Sugar

1 Cup Canola Oil

4 eggs

 

2 ½ C fresh and roasted (Place huge chunks of cut pumpkin skin side up onto a sheet pan lined w parchment or foil and bake for @ 1 hour at 400 degrees and cool) or canned pumpkin

 

2 ½ C All Purpose Flour

2 t Baking Powder

1 t Cinnamon

1 t Ginger

½ t Cloves

2 t Baking Soda

½ t Maldon Salt

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz pkg room temp cream cheese

1 stick or ½ C room temp butter

2 C. Confectioners Sugar

1 t Vanilla

 

Blend cream cheese and butter in a mixer on med high until combined. Add sugar while mixer is on low until combined. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix in.

Directions:

 

Combine oil and sugar in mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed for @ 5 minutes.

Sift together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt. If salt doesn’t fit through sifter, add to dry ingredients.

Alternately starting with the 1/3 flour mixture, add to oil, sugar and egg mixture, then adding 1/3 pureed pumpkin, then 1/3 more flour, and repeating with flour until mixture is combined.

Pour into a greased and floured bunt pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for @ 45-55 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Remove cake from pan onto a platter. When cool, frost with cream cheese frosting. Slice and serve. Serves @10.

Enjoy!

My husband and I and my son’s dog Hank dressed up for Halloween

Hank and my son Curtis hanging out to see the Trick or Treaters at our home.

My youngest son Andrew cane to Grace Cathedral

 

 

And in case you want to bake a pie. Try this one.

http://letsmakemudpies.blogspot.com/2016/10/lets-make-mud-pies-oh-no-you-didnt-just.html

 

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Posted by on November 5, 2016 in Dessert, Halloween, Holidays

 

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Personal Story: A Brief Look at My Life

Source: Personal Story: A Brief Look at My Life

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Personal Story: A Brief Look at My Life

Personal Story: A Brief Look at My Life

I am going to take a moment and share a story about my life. Recently I began working as a preschool teacher in Blackhawk California. It all started when a friend Lara who I worked with in the dental field 15 years ago ran into me at Costco. She went on and on about how much she loved her job working with kids. I was intrigued by our conversation and reached out to her on Facebook. We connected and I messaged her and asked if her place of employment Tassajara Learning Center was hiring. Lara gave me her bosses contact information and I reached out and inquired about a teaching position.

Here’s a little back history on me that most of you might now know. I’m a kid lover. I’ve always adored kids. I had my first child at the age of 20 after getting married at age 18. I fell in love with a gorgeous man in the US Marine Corps and we eloped after only knowing one another for 6 months. This marriage ended after Eric left me when I was 7 ½ months pregnant. My mother told him to “take care of me and don’t ask for her help, or leave and never see us again.” That night my husband left.

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Eric and I at a photo session in San Francisco in 1983

Eric and I had a tumultuous relationship with Eric being jealous, controlling and manipulative. He never hit me, but was mentally abusive to me. Luckily, I was able to live with my mom and she cared for me until Curtis was born. He was 2 ½ weeks overdue and born on January 20 1985 on Super Bowl Sunday almost 31 years ago. A fireman named Mark Thomas delivered him in my bedroom since I never made it to the hospital on time. My mom’s car wasn’t working and Kaiser wouldn’t send an ambulance. I was allowed to live at home until Curtis was 3 months old.

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Curtis’s first picture at 2 days old

At that point, I found a job as an Au pair and worked for a wonderful woman named Diane. Diane had a son named Joel who was 4 and she needed care in the evenings while she worked. Curtis and I lived with them for 2 years and I was able to go to school, work at Longs Drugs part time and help Diane run her home. I learned how to cook, clean, iron, paint fences, garden, and of course care for Joel and Curtis in between. I loved taking care of these boys. We had a ball together.

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Curtis holding Andrew in Dec 1992

I was fortunate enough to meet my next love at Longs Drugs. Ken was putting himself through UC Berkeley, working 35 hours a week and taking care of his sick father. I married this sexy man that has the most generous heart  2 ½ years later in June of 1989. Ken adopted Curtis two years later, and we had another son Andrew in 1992.

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Ken pushing Curtis in a stroller at the zoo

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Here is a pic of me and Curtis when I was a single parent in Nov 1987

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Ken and Curtis on Father’s Day

I’m the luckiest girl on earth to have my boys and a loving husband. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to work at a beautiful preschool like Tassajara learning Center and I look forward to teaching my new kids a few things before they begin kindergarten. I’m especially happy that I ran into my friend Lara and for my families’ encouragement as I step into this new career.

Here’s a recipe that I think you’ll like. These Honey Bran Muffins are moist and perfect served with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee or hot tea. I hope you make them for your family and spoil them like I spoil mine.

 

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Honey Bran Muffins Baked w Fig Jam

Ingredients:

2 C All purpose flour

2 t baking soda

1 ½ t salt

1 ½ C wheat bran

½ C Fiber One Cereal (crushed)

 

½ C Unsalted Butter (1 stick), room temperature

1 C sugar

½ C honey

2 large eggs

¾ C fig preserves

1 t vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

 

2 C buttermilk (or use Milk and add 1 T apple cider vinegar)

 

½ C diced dried plums

1 C raisins

 

¼ C Demerara Raw Sugar to sprinkle over muffins before baking

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups w paper liners. Stir flour, wheat bran, Fiber One Cereal, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and blend.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Add honey, then eggs one at a time. Add fig jam and vanilla and mix well. Beat in buttermilk alternately w flour mixture until combined. Stir in dried plums and raisins and scoop into muffin cups.

Sprinkle Demerara sugar over muffins and bake for about 20 minutes until a tooth pick comes clean when testing. Take out of muffin cups and cool on a rack.

Enjoy!

 

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Feel free to leave comments or ask any questions.

 

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on January 17, 2016 in Biography, Muffins, Uncategorized

 

Blog: 9 Ways to Double Your Pleasure While on Vacation

Source: Blog: 9 Ways to Double Your Pleasure While on Vacation

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Blog: 9 Ways to Double Your Pleasure While on Vacation

Blog: 9 Ways to Double Your Pleasure While on Vacation

IMG_5633

I’m loving winter time. I am spending five days up in the mountains with family. It is currently 33 degrees here in Truckee California. We are at 6125 Elevation nestled in the coziest house you can imagine. There is a huge snow storm going on. We are expecting at least two more feet of snow.

It’s days like these that make me want to bake. And gingerbread is the perfect comfort food to celebrate this holiday season. After all, December is a glorious time of year, especially when it’s snowing outside.

Over the years, my family would take a drive up north once in the winter and once in the summer to celebrate birthdays and have family reunions. All 15-20 of us cram into a big house and eat, drink and play games. It’s a joy to spend time with my nieces and nephews on a more personal level. Many of them join me in the kitchen to whip up a meal like chicken parmesan or lasagna. Then we find time to bake something sweet to make a perfect ending to a family meal.

This week I’m enjoying cooking for my sister and her girlfriend. I’ve made bean soup, BBQ pulled pork, and this wonderful gingerbread cake. We’ve enjoyed having this cake for breakfast as well as dessert.

I feel spoiled to be able to sneak away from my life in the Bay Area and enjoy the splendor of life in the woods. Here are my 9 ways to double your pleasure while on vacation in the mountains.

  • Make a fire in a wood stove and be grateful for a generous sister
  • Stay in your pajamas all day long
  • Make an apple butternut squash soup and serve w crème fraise
  • Drink homemade peppermint hot cocoa w whipped cream or marshmallows
  • Scrapbook homemade greeting cards
  • Put your feet up w a warm blanket and cuddle w a loved one
  • Watch football with a cold beer and eat hot appetizers like potato skins dipped in ranch dressing
  • Snuggle w your kitty cat on your lap and drink a Peet’s coffee w a dark chocolate ganache
  • Bake a delicious and moist gingerbread cake and serve with a vanilla caramel ice cream

Here’s the recipe.

Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients:

Softened Shortening or butter for coating pan

1C Canola Oil

1 C Granulated Sugar

1 C Molasses

2 T crystallized candied ginger

2 large eggs

3 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1 T baking soda

1 T ground ginger

2 T ground cinnamon

1 t Maldon salt

½ t ground cloves

1 C Pale Ale or Guinness Beer

Serve w whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat a 9X13X2 cake pan or 2 9” round pans with shortening and line w parchment.

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In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, molasses and candied ginger. Add eggs and whisk until smooth.

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Whisk dry ingredients into molasses ingredients starting w dry alternately adding beer ending with dry until just combined.

Pour into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven until tooth pick comes clean @ 45 minutes.

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video of snow storm

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1 Comment

Posted by on December 13, 2015 in Dessert, Holidays, Wintertime

 

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The Biggest Challenge: Raising a Son with Autism

Source: The Biggest Challenge: Raising a Son with Autism

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2015 in Uncategorized