11/16/18

A cookie a day until Christmas! 2018 Version - MACARONS


The holiday baking has begun here at the home of An American Housewife.  This early on, I only start with things that can be safely frozen in the deep freeze for a couple weeks.  Yesterday I made up 4 batches of cut-out sugar cookie dough, 2 batches of peppermint melt-away cookie dough and 3 batches of molasses cookie mixes.  All are just chilling in the refrigerator to bake (maybe tomorrow?).

Today was almond macaron bake day!  I ended up doing 4 batches.  I decided to make them all red so it would be easier later on to fill and sandwich them. 

I don't really care about taking pictures... and it's a 'good' day when I remember to grab my cellphone and take some.  So the only photo above is actually from a snapchat I sent to my family and friends on my snapchat 'story' and it happened to be from a 'thicker' batch so the little piping point didn't fall completely down flat.

Since no one pays me to blog and I don't care to spend oodles of time trying to take picture-perfect photos, you get what you get.  Quick snapshots on my cellphone.  :)

I made all 4 batches red with vanilla flavoring.  My initial plan will be to fill them with a white buttercream filling flavored  with a light peppermint and possibly rolling the edges in fine crushed peppermint candy.

But for now the almond macarons are baked, cooled, packaged and are resting in my deep freezer to be filled closer to Christmas.


Almond Macarons

1 cup fine quality almond flour
2 cups powdered sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 t cream of tartar
dash of salt
1/4 c fine granulated sugar


Mix the confectioner's sugar and almond flour very well either by pulsing in a food processor until combined or using an electric stick blender or electric whisk, sifting it, etc. It should be mixed very well and quite fine.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and a dash of salt; and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add a drop or two of food color if you are using it, a drop or two of flavor extracts if you are using them, and the fine white sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.  Take your time folding and don't rush it or you will break down the beaten egg whites.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip if you have one, or if not, leave the round 1/2 inch opening of the bag or the white plastic piece you would normally put a tip on, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  If you remember, drag the pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks (like you see in the photo above! Ha).

Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 18 minutes.

Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling of your choice. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.




Ready to add the almond flour/confectioner's sugar mixture...


Remember to get it nice and 'fine' by processing or sifting, etc. first.


Starting to fold it in... slowly.  Don't break down the egg whites.


Almost there!


Another random photo from my personal snapchat story to my family....  ha ha.











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11/13/18

Grocery Delivery Online From Amazon: Do you live in an area where it's offered?






The first time I wanted to use a grocery delivery program was long (long long) before it was a 'thing'.  It was 2002 (I think) and a friend and her family had relocated across the country to the East coast for her husband to start a new job.  Although I knew they were struggling, I didn't realize how much until I picked up a few clues in a phone conversation we had.  Money was unbelievably tight and she was having a hard time affording groceries.  They had two girls in middle and elementary school at the time, and I decided I wanted to surprise them by gifting them with groceries.

Although I was prepared to buy various foods, box them up and send them through the mail, I went online to a very 'new' internet and found there at that time, just 2 grocery delivery services; so very brand new that almost no one had heard of them.  It was a hassle, and fairly expensive, but I did it and she was so very appreciative!  The gift of food is welcome almost anytime but for them, at that time, it was a dire need.

Flash forward...  Over the past six years or so, I've looked into various options for food delivery for my father-in-law.  He's 90 years old, lives out on a farm in a very, very small town in the midwest and although he drives to doctor's appointments, church and shopping - I would rather have him not have to do so in the winter months, on icy, snowy roads.  

I've looked at almost every option available from Schwans delivery to grocery delivery services, Walmart and other grocery stores delivery options and of course, Amazon... but because of his location it's difficult.  There aren't any really good options yet at this point for 'fresh' foods, because of where he lives.

On the flip-side however, I have family members who live in larger metro areas that have all sorts of options available to them.  And even if you live in an out of way 'small' city, sometimes you STILL have some great options.  My oldest daughter for example, orders almost everything (literally everything) online.  She primarily uses Amazon - but also uses other companies based on what she needs at the time.  She also utilizes Walmart's free pick-up service for fresh foods. In the past 6 months I believe she's only entered a grocery store (it was Walmart) one time and when she left she texted me to say THAT is why she only orders online!  She had 3 little ones with her (ages 4, 2 and a newborn) and she hasn't yet stepped foot in a store.  From Sam's Club to Walmart, to Amazon, Wayfair, pet companies and more...  she has everything from diapers to lettuce to shampoo either delivered or ready for drive-up pickup.

Which is where this post comes from today.  

I am (again) looking at all the options for food delivery to my father-in-law - as a Christmas present.  Because Amazon has made great strides in opening up their fresh food delivery service to more areas, I logged in to check my father-in-laws address.  It's still not offered for his location (and mine either for that matter) but because I'm an Amazon affiliate, and because my website is FOOD based, I decided to do a quick post so my readers might be able to check if this was something they would be interested in!

You can have FRESH FOODS delivered from Amazon if you live in a covered location; not just household goods and dry goods!  How does it work?  It's part of the Try AmazonFresh program.  You shop for your groceries online, schedule your delivery time... and it's delivered to your door.  Meats, vegetables, fruits along with whatever everyday essentials you need.




To see if your address is included in the delivery area just follow this link; Try AmazonFresh Free Trial








11/11/18

The Christmas Cookies are Coming!







I know my readers didn't know this, but I've been out of town (out of state, actually) most of the last 3-4 weeks.  But I'm home now and I think I get to stay home through December so guess what I get to start on?  Christmas cookies!!  I even bought a small, new, deep freezer to store them as it takes 3-4 weeks to get them all made and in order to make room for them in our normal deep freeze, I have to use up all our normal groceries. 

I have posted hundreds of Christmas Cookie recipes over the past 10 years and you can find them through the site search, or by label.  I will also be re-posting them and working on a few brand new ones this year.  I think my recipe list is currently hovering around 25 different recipes; some will be double and triple batches.














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