My Gratitude Journal

Sunday Bubbly Sunday

Originally posted on September 1, 2013

Such a patient little man…While I was busy doing chores, Josh was keeping busy, playing airplanes and sharks. He borrowed my phone for a little bit. He likes talking to Siri and asking her questions. Sometimes he acts silly. Josh told Siri that he loves it and she told him “that’s nice, can we get back to work now?” Josh made me a hamburger on my iPhone. He said it was a vegetarian hamburger and he wrote this on it: “I love u mom”

I ate every last bit of it. It was delicious! I told him that when I am finished we can go outside. How many minutes? 5 more minutes. I asked him to think of something to do outside. He told me that he wanted to make bubbles and showed me an empty gatorade bottle. He made bubbles at  after school care and wanted to finish his project. I quickly finished what I was doing and looked for the glycerin. I grabbed the dishwashing soap and we began our homemade experiment. I was thinking to myself that we have ready made “miracle bubbles” in the junk drawer. This wouldn’t require any trial and error of any sort. But for Josh, it’s the process not the product. He loves recipes. He loves mixing things. He loves experimenting. After much trial and error (and a new label for our bottle), I asked Josh what he would like to call his new bubble product and he decided on “Josh’s Orange Bubbles”.

We went outside in the blistering heat to try out our new bubbles. They were fantastical! He even used the bubbles to clean his airplane. He put his airplane through the “airplane” carwash. His airplane even got a rinse of water with the water mister. What fun! Because of all the glycerin and dishwashing soap, this solution really went a long way. When we added more water, the amount of bubbles was ridiculous. We played bubble ball fight (like snow ball fight) in the heat. It was fun. Josh liked it.

Here’s our recipe for Josh’s Orange Bubbles
1 cup of water
1 cup of Ajax orange dishwashing liquid
1 tablespoon of glycerin

Have an ever so bubbly day today!

“Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.” – Plato

baking

Biscuit dough mini monkey bread

I found an article by Babble via Pinterest. It was called 21 things you can make with a tube of biscuit dough. Oh, yummy! I was mostly interested in the recipe for Extreme Monkey Bread (also at Babble.com):

And here it is:

Extreme Monkey Bread
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark Karo syrup
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tubes of large Texas Layers biscuits
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamom

STEP 1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine brown sugar, Karo syrup, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and vanilla. Stir all ingredients together until smooth & allow to heat just until boiling.

STEP 2. Open the packages of biscuits, separate each biscuit and cut into four pieces.

STEP 3. Stir together cinnamon and sugar. Toss cut biscuit pieces into the cinnamon and sugar.

STEP 4. Pour half of the caramel sauce into the bottom of a bundt pan which has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

STEP 5. Place the cinnamon & sugar coated biscuit pieces on top of the caramel.  Pour most of the remaining caramel over the  top of the biscuits, setting about 1/4 cup aside for dipping, if desired. (The bundt pan will be verrry full.  If you don’t have a bundt pan, try splitting your monkey bread into two large loaf pans, the sort you’d use to bake loaved of bread).

STEP 6. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the bread at the top of the bundt pan is golden brown.  Allow to sit for 8-10 minutes before turning onto a plate.  Serve immediately.

Yeah, that does sound extreme. That lead me to a search of a simple recipe for Monkey Bread. I found one at Pioneerwoman.com

Monkey Bread at Pioneerwoman.com (click here for the full recipe):

The ingredients include:

1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
2 to 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
Bundt pan
3 cans of Buttermilk Biscuits (the non-flaky ones)
1 cup of sugar

Yes! Much more simple. Let’s try it! Okay, but I only bought one can of biscuits, they are the flaky ones, not the non-flaky ones and that just seems like a whole lot of butter. Oh, also I don’t have a bundt pan. So I adjusted the recipe into a mini monkey bread. I used the toaster oven since it was a smaller batch and placed it on the baking tray that came with the toaster.

Here’s my take on this recipe.

Mini monkey bread:
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 can of jumbo biscuits, flaky, butter flavored
1/2 cup of sugar

-Cut each of the buttermilk biscuits into 6 pieces (instead of quarters, since these are jumbo and 6 pieces seem more bite sized)

-Mix the sugar and cinnmon together in a gallon storage bag.

-Drop the biscuits in the bag. I gave it to my son to shake. Big helper! Make sure each piece has a coating of cinnamon sugar.

-Line the baking tray with aluminum foil and then I placed the biscuits on it. I pushed the dough down just a little bit so that there were no spaces in between the pieces.

-On medium heat, I melted the butter and brown sugar together. About 3 minutes.

-Once well combined, I poured the butter/brown sugar  mixture over the biscuits.

-Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

-Just like a bundt pan, turn the baking tray upside down onto a large plate. The butter and sugar will be nice and sticky and now on top!

Yum, yum, yum… mini monkey bread…

My Gratitude Journal

Chado Tea Room in Pasadena

My friend and I visited the Chado Tea Room in PasadenaWe have been to many tea rooms through the years. It’s one of our favorite things to do!

The Chado Tea Room in Pasadena is located at 79 N. Raymond. They are open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We made reservations before hand, which is highly recommended as it  seems to be a popular spot and it gets very busy.

A Groupon for chocolate and tea tasting brought us in. But we were also hungry for lunch so we ordered food. They offer soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts. They also offer vegetarian choices. I chose the Punjab sandwich which consists of eggs marinated in their lapsang souchong smoked tea then combined with mayonnaise and green onions. The bread was toasted and the crusts were cut off (awwww….). It was super delicious. I also ordered a tomato basil soup, which was also vegetarian. My friend ordered the afternoon tea. It came with four half sandwiches (four different kinds), one scone with homemade cream and fresh fruit, and a dessert. It was presented on a three tier rack. And of course, it also included a pot of tea.

We were told that they have about 400 teas. The tea menu was a book. I mean, really, it was a book. I chose a chai tea called Brendan’s Chai which is an Assam Black tea blended with ginger, cinnamon, lemon grass. It was creamy, rich and delicious.

The service was great! Our waiter was very knowledgable about the teas and attentive. Before our chocolates and teas came out, our waiter brought out a strawberry display tea. A display tea is just that…a display tea… although you can drink it too. You watch your tea flower bloom while it is steeping. A wonderful 5 minute show. Tea leaves that were bunched together in a little ball were placed in a glass tea kettle with hot water. The leaves unfurl to create a flower creation.

I took pictures of the display tea unblooming in 1 minute increments.

image

Then our teas and chocolates came out. We were offered three more teas in addition to the display tea. The teas are meant to be paired with the chocolates. We tried a chai tea, a green tea and a pomegranate tea. The pomegranate tea was my favorite. It really brought out the taste of the chocolate.

image

They also have beautiful tea cups, tea pots and delicious tea leaves, including blooming teas in tins for sale. It’s a very relaxing environment. I suggest that if you make a visit there, that you plan two hours of your time so that you can relax and unwind. 

You can valet park, park in public parking with the first 90 minutes free or you can park at the meters. That’s what I did. 2 hours of metered parking cost a total of $2.50.

The Chado Tea Room was a great place to visit. We plan to go again. Sandwiches, chocolates and tea? Can’t go wrong with that combination.

Today I am grateful for traditions with friends and afternoon tea with my friend, Marylisa