Functional Fashion from the North

It's no wonder that elves come from Scandinavia. Look at these wonderful shoes! I love these. They're toted to be traditional laplander boots made of reindeer leather. You can see more of them here.

Black Russian Bundt Cake

This is sooooooo good!
1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding)
1/2 c. sugar
1 pkg. (6 oz.) chocolate instant pudding
1 c. oil
4 eggs
1/4 c. Vodka
1/4 c. Kahlua
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. Kahlua
1/2 c. powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients and beat on low speed for one minute and then on medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto plate and pour on glaze.
GLAZE: Combine and have ready when cake comes from oven. Poke holes in cake and pour glaze over cake. Optional: Dust with sifted powdered sugar.

Bunnies create wonderful Fertilzer!

(clockwise from top left) Uncle Wiggly, Baby Pip, and Buckaroo. These adorable little boys are mini lops. They'll be joined by some hens as soon as we get the chicken coop finished. Our urban farm begins! Paul made their house--his first building project.

Chocolate Beet Brownies

I once ate some wonderful beet chocolate brownies at a baby shower. The woman who made them said they were sweetened with beets instead of sugar, but I haven't been able to find such a recipe. I often use xylitol instead of sugar for it's healthier properties.
This recipe came from La Tartine Gourmande.

Beet Chocolate Brownies
You need:
3 oz (90 g) Dark chocolate (I used a 75 % cocoa dark chocolate)
3.5 oz (100 g) flour
3.5 oz (100 g) almond powder
3 oz (90 g) sugar
3 oz (90 g) butter (soft)
4 eggs
7 oz (200 g) shredded raw red beet root
Vanilla extract
Confectioner sugar and cocoa for decoration

Start by peeling and shredding the beets. Set aside
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
Mix together (using a food processor, I use my Kitchen Aid Stand) the butter with the eggs, then add the sugar.
Mix until lighter, then add the chocolate, flour, almond powder, the beets and the vanilla extract, and mix well.
Butter a small mould
(I used a round mould but a square one works well) and place greased parchment paper at the bottom)
Pour the preparation in it and bake in the oven for about 30 mns in a preheated oven, 350 F (180 C)
Note: Your brownies are cooked once the blade of a knife comes out dry after you insert the blade in the brownies.

This information is from Marion Owen of Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Beet greens contain vitamins A and C, and more iron and minerals than spinach. Beet roots are rich in potassium and contain protein, fiber, iron, calcium, phosphate, niacin, folate and vitamins A and C. They can be baked, steamed, pickled, used in soups, salads, side dishes and secretly added to chocolate brownie recipes.

These brownies are rich, chewy, and secretly nutritious!

1/2 cup butter (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 15 oz. can beets packed in water, drained and mashed; or 1 cup cooked beets
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light in color and foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well creamed.

Stir in chocolate mixture, followed by applesauce and beets. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in wheat germ and almonds.

Turn into greased 9x13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.

I found a recipe for Chile Brownies which are supposedly a staple in Texas. When I was growing up in Austin, I never heard of chile brownies. I also never ate rattlesnake.

More recipes that sound yummy:

Beet or Ruby Brownies
Serves: 8-12 Time: about 1 hour including bake time
Source: Ruoka & Viini
about 2-4 small beets or 3/4 cup of beet puree
3.5 oz baking/semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1-2 teaspoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup ground nuts
Butter and dust with cocoa a 23cm/8-9 inch round cake pan. Heat oven to 175C/350F.
Boil beets with skins until soft. Peel and puree with a hand blender or grate finely and mash. You should have about 3/4 c of beet puree.
Melt chocolate and allow to cool.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla sugar together and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together and add eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add chocolate, beet puree, and flour mixture individually, mixing well. Fold in nuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 oz/ 127g)
When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment ( or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.

Autumn Squash Pancakes from Consubstantial Paneity

I found this fantastic blog one morning when I was looking for a recipe for squash pancakes and this was the first site that came up. Lucky me! We have an abundance of squash from the garden so I'm trying to be creative with all the dishes I create.
Thanks to Ester Brownie for this yummy recipe.

(makes about 3 dozen medium pancakes)

2 cups mashed roast winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.), peel and seeds removed
1/2 cup oil, plus additional oil or butter for frying
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 t vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
2 T baking powder
2 t salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg

Optional: 12 oz. chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together the squash, oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Scoop the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices on top. Mix together lightly, then mix into the rest of the batter until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.

Heat a large skillet or griddle on medium-high and grease with oil or butter. Pour batter into circles 2-3″ across, with plenty of space between each pancake. Flip once the batter begins to bubble and turns a rich golden-brown on the bottom.

If you like, you can use my mother’s trick to keep your first pancakes warm as you cook more batches. Take a pot, pour an inch of water on the bottom, and nest a large bowl in the top of the pot. Heat the pot on medium-low. Put finished pancakes in the bowl and cover with a wide lid.

Our 2nd album, Ridin' a Buggy now on CD Baby!

We released our 2nd album--first in Seattle, then in Fayetteville, AR. We now sell them at CD Baby now which has already proved to be a wise investment. Yeah!!!

My friend, Ben, did the cover design. I am such an art snob, but Ben's work really inspires me and I'm so glad we live in the same town. His wife, Jessica, is an incredible designer and seemstress, making clothes from old patterns and fantastic embroidered bags. She has some of the most beautful clothes from the 1920s & 30s.

Square Dancing in Seattle

My good friend Charmaine is extraordinary! She busted onto the Old Time scene of the NW and has driven that freight train ever since. Not only does she dance and play guitar at the same time, but she calls dances now too. She also exudes such positivity that it's hard not to fall in love with her. She seriously kicks ass!

Her gentleman, Charlie, is probably the most versatile and tasteful banjo player I know. They make an amazing team who mutually support and promote each other (be it subconsciously or not). We're waiting ever so impatiently for Squirrel Butter; the Movie.

June & July

O.K. So we went to Seattle this summer to party with The Tallboys and the rest of our wonderful friends. It was glorious! We brought our fiddler and performed bunches and had an awesome Uber jam. We're hoping that they make the trip down here soon!
We played a great festival last June in West Plains, MO called the Ozark Old Time Music Fest. (or something like that). The folks there really know how to party! We square danced and I learned how to 2 Step. We met Matt, Gretchen, and Laura there. Matt & Gretchen are currently on an amazing bike journey down the west coast. You can read about it here. They hung out with our Tallboys friends and attented the Centralia Old Time camp out with them. You can find more info on all that here. What a wonderful small world.