Cardboard & Cloth

recipes, DIY, parenting & me time


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Simple, Tasty Oatcakes

Oatcakes are a great, quick treat for breakfast on the go or topped with hot, sugared fruit for dessert. They also serve as the perfect snack for the little guy when he’s tired of cheese sticks and blueberries. I found a number of oatcake recipes in old cookbooks and floating around online, and the ingredient vary very little: oats, flour, sugar, butter with either cream or yogurt as the binding ingredient. After playing around with a few options, I came up with this sweet, apple-cinnamon version using natural Greek yogurt:

Apple-Cinnamon Oatcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups oats (rolled, not steel cut)
  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar blended with 1 Tablespoon molasses (or 1/3 cup light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1 small container (about 1/3 cup) Greek yogurt, apple-cinnamon variety

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix your dry ingredients together.
    dry mix
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and work it with your fingers into the dry mixture…
    add butter
    until it resembles coarse meal.
    coarse meal
  4. Mix the yogurt thoroughly in the container, then add to the meal, using your fingers to blend it until it forms a soft dough.
  5. Pat evenly onto a sheet of parchment paper with your hands, smoothing it out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.
    cut and lift oatcakes
  6. Cut into rounds (these are about 2 1/2 inches in diameter) and slide off the parchment paper onto a clean sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
    *I used a cake icing knife to lift the cookies, but you could just as easily use a spatula or a bench scraper.
  7. Bake about 15 minutes until golden on the bottom edges.
    oatcakes done

That’s it! These little rounds keep for about two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but I doubt they’ll last that long :).

As for that dessert topping, to make a quick fresh strawberry topping:

Chop 1 cup fresh strawberries and mix with 2 – 3 Tablespoons sugar and 3 Tablespoons water and heat in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling, then reduce to medium and allow the mixture to reduce to a syrup. This should take about 7 – 10 minutes, but if you’re in a hurry you can mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon water and add the slurry to the strawberry mix. this should make it thicken up in about 3 – 4 minutes. Spoon over warmed oatcakes and top with a dollop of whipped cream!


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DIY Floral-Infused Liquors and Syrups

Looking for a way to bottle up summer and serve it to your friends? Check out these vintage mix-and-match cocktail ideas created using nothing more than sugar, water and the flowers in bloom. And if you have some extra petals, this article also shows how to make your own sugared blossoms for garnish!


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“Leprechaun Loafer” Chocolate-Dipped Butterscotch Cookies

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and to celebrate, the little guy and I are making some Leprechaun Loafer Cookies for his classmates. This recipe is for a butterscotch cookie dipped in dark chocolate and decorated to look like a little leprechaun left his golden, buttery shoe behind while looking for places to hide his treasure. Enjoy!
“Leprechaun Loafer” Chocolate-Dipped Butterscotch Cookies
leprechaun shoe cookies
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz. dark chocolate chips
frosting (for decorating)
  • Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter starts to brown. You’ll be able to tell it’s browning when the butter starts to smell warm and nutty, and small brown particles form at the bottom of the saucepan. When the particles appear, take the butter off quickly so it won’t burn.
  • Mix the butter with the brown sugar thoroughly, then set aside to cool. It’s okay if the sugar/butter mix is warm, but if it’s too hot it will cook the egg.
  • Once the sugar/butter mixed has cooled, add the egg and beat until the mixture resembles mayonnaise.
  •  Add the vanilla.
  • Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix until combined.
  • Roll dough into a log and wrap in waxed paper. Let chill in freezer for approximately 2 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
  • cookie roll
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Shape the cookie roll until it’s slightly oval, like a shoe, and cut into cookies about 1/4 inch thick. Take 1/3 of the cookies and cut them in half, placing them on top of the full cookies to give the “shoes” their shape.
  • unbaked shoes
  • Place shoe cookies on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 9 – 11 minutes. When just golden and lightly brown around the edges, they’re done!
Chocolate Dipping
Edward loved these cookies plain, but to make them look like leprechaun shoes, we needed a good coating of dark chocolate.
  1. To do this, melt your 6 oz. of dark chocolate chips in a double boiler or, like I do, in a small bowl perched on top of a saucepan filled with water and simmering on the stove.
  2. Once the chocolate is melted, dip each shoe in the chocolate and brush on with a pastry brush. I used a skewer stuck through the thickest part of each cookie to manipulate it in the chocolate.
  3. Remove the coated cookie and place on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
  4. Chill until set – about 1/2 hour.
  5. Decorate with the frosting and a pastry bag, adding a buckle and the “opening” on the top of the shoe. If you don’t have a pastry bag, just put the frosting in a zip-loc and snip off a bottom corner edge; it works just as well!

NOTE: for my frosting, I used the leftovers from my salted caramel butter cupcakes and lightly colored the frosting with turmeric. But you can use a simple cream cheese frosting from the grocery store. You don’t need much; just enough to add the details.

 row of cookies


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Clemen-time of Year: Clementine Simple Syrup

This time of year our family plows through about a box of clementines a week. And while the peels don’t work that well for making candied orange peel (the skin is too thin to take the white pith off without tearing), they do make a delicious simple syrup! My husband particularly likes to use itfor early spring Old Fashioneds, and I put it in just about everything from coffee to lemonade. The recipe for the syrup is super simple:

Clementine Simple Syrup

  • Equal parts water and sugar (I used one cup of each for two clementine peels)
  • handful of washed clementine peel (preferably organic to avoid pesticides in the skin)

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain out the peel and any particulates into a sealable jar such as a mason jar and you’re done!

clementine syrup collage


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10 Recipes Using Flat Soda Pop

We really don’t drink that much soda at our house, so when we do wind up with a 2 liter bottle – either after a small house party or when someone gets a tummy ache – we end up letting whatever’s left sit in the fridge until it goes flat. I always feel awful about just pouring the flat soda down the drain, so I decided to see if there were any recipes that make use of soda, either flat or fully carbonated. And there are! In fact, just about any recipe that calls for the use of beer can use a soda such as ginger ale as a substitute. Following are several great recipes that can help you use up that old soda without worrying about wastage:

  1.  Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Ginger Ale Sauce
    Eggs, cream, bread, oatmeal and apples – you can’t go wrong with a combination like that! Instead of the apple pie filling called for in this recipe, I simply cooked down two cups of peeled apple slices with half a cup of sugar, some water, and a bit of lemon zest.
  2. Cola-Brined Chicken Wings
    The cola seems to give the wings an extra sweet crisp when you bite in.
  3. Lemon-Lime Soda Pound Cake
    The addition of the lemon-lime soda seems to give this cake a delicious, extra crunchy outer layer.
  4. Soda-Baked Apples
    Thank you, Paula Deen! This is probably one of my most favorite ways to eat an apple.
  5. Cherry Balsamic Short Ribs
    Cherries and short ribs? Yes, please!
  6. Diet Soda Cake
    A two-ingredient recipe is hard to beat!
  7. Cola Pork Chops
    Ketchup, brown sugar, cola and pork chops – it doesn’t get much simpler.
  8. Coca-Cola Barbeque Sauce
    Instead of liquid smoke, you can use 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. It isn’t as smoky, of course, but it works in a pinch.
  9. Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes with Red Licorice Filling and Marshmallow Frosting
    …I think the title says it all.
  10. Beer (or Soda!) Can Chicken
    You can’t have a soda recipe list without beer/soda can chicken. This one even comes with its own cola-based barbeque sauce recipe! Even though the alcohol in the beer boils off, the beer can is easily replaced by a soda can if you’d rather avoid the use of alcoholic beverages.


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Mom Tip: Un-Stale-ing Cheerios (and other baked cereals)

This one came to me after I finally got the little guy to go to sleep for the night and realized that we never ran out to the store for groceries. I had two choices for dinner: some oatmeal baby food I’d made earlier or cereal. I opted for cereal.

Unfortunately, however, the box had been opened for a while and after one bite of those dense, chewy o’s, I almost tossed the box. But then I thought about my other option and decided to figure out a way to make my cereal option a little more edible.

The solution was almost too simple: spread them out on a baking sheet (I used a piece of parchment paper underneath the o’s just in case) and toast them for about 10 minutes at 225 degrees F.

The result was a perfectly crisp cereal with a little bit of home cooked warmth. They only took about 5 minutes to cool down and the meal was a success. The next morning, Edward also approved of the freshly toasted cereal and polished off several handfuls.

 


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Hard Pretzel Recipe: Great for Teething

Apparently there’s some sort of strange tie between learning to walk early and having a large number of teeth come in all at once. I think it might have been a curse some old gypsy woman placed on mothers way back when, because there’s nothing “more fun” than a fiercely teething one year old who thinks he can run.

Finding a snack that a running, teething baby can enjoy without doing too much damage either to himself or to furniture was a bit of a challenge, but thankfully we came across this great hard pretzel recipe by Alton Brown. The dough takes almost no time to put together and can be twisted into all sorts of fun shapes.

What we did differently was, instead of leaving the pretzels in the oven for the full 50 – 55 minutes, we took them out at about half an hour. The result was more of a really tough pretzel rather than a hard one, which is perfect for little teethers. They can gum those pretzels to their heart’s content and parents don’t have to worry about brittle pretzel bits breaking off and cutting the inside of the mouth.

Next experiment: coming up with some baby friendly pretzel dipping sauces!