Last Day of 2013

blue sky

Morning y’all,

It’s New Year’s eve, the last day of 2013 and it’s another gorgeous morning on the mountain. The high yesterday reached 47 degrees with the overnight low hitting 34 degrees. It’s currently 37 degrees and clear at 7am. By Friday it is suppose to be in the low 20’s and with a high around 30 and a chance of snow. It would be nice to see a little snow.

Are you celebrating this evening? How will you welcome the arrival of 2014? Perhaps a night out at your favorite restaurant for delicious food, a movie, fancy dress and a little champagne. Watch the ball drop, fireworks and the elusive promise of a kiss at the end of the night!

Wherever you may be today,
I hope you have a fun and safe evening.
I want to wish you and your loved ones a
Happy New Year!

American Black Vulture

american black vulture

I rarely see the American Black Vultures but today I spotted five sitting in several trees about 20 feet from each other. The American Black Vultures are scavengers and like to feed on carrion. I didn’t find anything dead so maybe they were just resting.

american black vulture

I read that in the United States the American Black Vulture is legally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

american black vulture in tree

black vulture

black vulture

Check out my new oval shaped cutting boards

Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins

Everyone in our family loves Blueberry Muffins! So, anytime the family is together for breakfast or brunch we always include Blueberry Muffins. This recipe is very easy, they are great for breakfast, snacks or anytime. They are, without a doubt, the most amazing, the most perfect blueberry muffins I have ever eaten, you won’t want to stop eating them!

If you have the large muffin pans, this recipe will make 24 large muffins.

Recipe

4 eggs 1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 small box of vanilla instant pudding
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of fresh blueberries or more, frozen or can of blueberries pie filling drained and rinsed
* This recipe will makes 24 regular size muffins or 12 large muffins.

Preheat oven at 350

I always rinse the fresh blueberries, place on wax paper on a cookie sheet, pat with paper towel to remove and excess water. If the blueberries are not fresh, I place them in freezer for freezing, make sure they are frozen before making the mix. If you freeze the blueberries this will insure you don’t get the blueberry juices in the mix.

Beat the 4 eggs until lite, approx. 2 – 3 minutes depending on mixer.

Add all other ingredients except do not add the blueberries yet. Mix until blended, it’s important not to over mix.

Prepare muffin pan with paper liners.

I will fill the muffin papers half full of mix, then remove frozen blueberries and add by hand blueberries to the mix. Add more batter on top of the blueberries, then add more blueberries to the top of the mix. Now they are ready to put into the oven.

Bake at 350 for 20 – 22 minutes depending on oven.

I hope you enjoy the blueberry muffing recipe!

blueberry muffins

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Michael

 

Oval Cutting Board

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oval walnut cutting board

Well its been a hectic week to say the least between catching up in the shop, Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, cooking for a couple parties and planning for Christmas. Tomorrow evening and Tuesday morning I will start cooking desserts for Christmas day which includes two cakes, carrot and coconut cake, blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter pie.

I completed all of the boards I promised and got them shipped. Most all of them will arrive before Christmas. I also found some time to work on a new prototype oval cutting board. The board in the pictures is made of Walnut. After making 4 different patterns and sizes I settled on this design.

oval walnut cutting board

This board dimensions are 15 1/4″ long x 11 3/4″ wide x 3/4″ thick. It’s handmade just like all my other boards. I then hand sand to a smooth finish, apply numerous coats of food safe mineral oil and then I add a top coat of my special mixture of mineral oil and beeswax. The picture is of my new Walnut wood oval cutting board .

oval walnut cutting board

Oval Walnut Cutting Board

Please give me feedback my new oval board as well as the size of the board?

oval cherry cutting board

oval walnut cutting board

wood conditioner, spoon butter, board butter or wood butter in tins, made from mineral oil and beeswax, spoon butter

Wood Conditioner helps to keep your cutting board in good condition.

Colorful Sunrise

sunrise

As I scan thru all the photographs I took today, I picked out my third photograph that I took of our beautiful and colorful sunrise. There were several photographs of our sunrise but this one was the best.

As you look at this picture, your eyes will focus on the sunrise, then the tree branches. If you look again, you will see that the mountain fog has started lifting. Then I noticed the blue sky and all the clouds. Wow, our sunrise today was spectacular!

Check out My Work

 

Christmas gift for the cook in your family…….

Home

This week was a challenge to finish getting all the boards done that I needed to complete. I am finally caught up which gives me spare time to clean, organize the shop and start a few new boards. There are only eight days left that I can make boards and get them shipped so that everyone receives their board before Christmas. Looks likes next week will be very busy!

4/4 walnut lumber with character

I purchased more walnut this week and when it arrived I was very happy 🙂 . There is so much character in this walnut, the colors and grain patterns are beautiful. I can’t wait to work with this walnut.

For the cook, food preparer or the one that likes to entertain in your family that LOVES wood, I have some really beautiful one of a kind handmade cutting boards. If you are looking for a special gift that is personal and useful, which makes more of a treasured gift, look at my cutting and serving boards. All of my boards are handmade and are both beautiful and functional.

round cutting board
The above picture was taken by Julie @ cookiecrumbstoliveby

A good cutting board belongs in every kitchen. It helps if one has at least two cutting boards in the kitchen.  Use one for savory food preparation and one for baking & desserts. However, if you enjoy entertaining guests on a regular basis, you may want to have multiple boards for cheese tastings, hors d’oeuvres, wine tastings and dessert displays.

All of my boards are crafted of individually selected pieces of lumber. The quality of each board can be attributed to its sleek design, invisible joints, rounded edges and smoothness. The surfaces of the wood are hand-sanded to a smooth finish. When completed, each board is treated with a blend of beeswax and food-safe mineral oil.

round cutting board with paddle handle

Round Cutting Boards with Paddle Handle

Look at the character in these boards! The round cutting boards with the paddle handle are available in several sizes. Perfect for a Sandwich or Breakfast Board.

As you can see in the pictures, please note that each board is slightly unique in grain and color.

wood conditioner, spoon butter, board butter or wood butter in tins, made from mineral oil and beeswax, spoon butter

Each order will receive a tin of my Wood Conditioner, sometimes call Board Butter to help you maintain the beauty of your board.

See more of My Work

 

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cake

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chocolate chip cake recipe

Chocolate Chip Cake using a Tube Pan

Let me tell you that this chocolate chip cake has 14 ounces of chocolate!!  It is so moist and full of chocolate and so very easy to make. I have been making this cake for over 15 years and from the very first time I made it my children immediately said it was their favorite. They are now grown and it is still their favorite! I get request to make this cake from everyone I know because it is that good.

You can also make this cake using a bundt cake pan instead of a tube pan.

chocolate bundt cake

Chocolate Chip Cake using a Bundt Pan

I modified the original recipe many years ago so that I could use more chocolate and to make it really moist. In 2004 I won first place with the cake in a local baking contest.

chocolate chip cake recipe

Above are my ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees or 325 for confection oven.

untilate chocolate chip cake recipe

Start by grating your semi-sweet chocolate squares, the picture above shows the remaining grating chocolate after mixing the batter. This grated chocolate will be used on top of the cake after baking.

Mix cake mix, pudding, oil and milk. Add eggs one at a time, beat throughly but be sure not to over beat. Stir in chocolate chips and all but 2/3 cups of grated chocolate.

best every chocolate chip cake recipe

Above is the batter after adding the grated semi-sweet chocolate. Once the cake batter is ready, pour into your prepared pan. You can bake this cake in either a bundt pan or tube pan. This time I used a tube pan but either will work fine. Be sure to prepare your pan with a good spray of Bakers Joy. If you miss this step you will not be able to remove the cake from the pan. Bake for about 50 – 55 minutes or until done depending on your oven.

best ever chocolate chip cake recipe

After the cake has cooled approximately 10-12 minutes, I remove from the pan and then top with the remaining grated semi-sweet chocolate. Once the cake has completely cooled I dust with 10x sugar.

best ever chocolate chip cake

I almost didn’t get a picture of the cake after it was cut, it gets eaten so fast because it is sooo good!!

Give this recipe a try, I promise you will love it! Here is my recipe.

1 -box Duncan Hine Deluxe Yellow Cake Mix
1 – 3 oz box instant vanilla pudding
1 – cup cooking oil
1 – cup milk 2% or higher
4 large eggs
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate squares – grated
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

This is the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cake!

From my home to yours, I want to wish everyone 

a very Happy & Joyous Holiday Season!

Happy Baking!

Michael

Ultimate Southern Pound Cake

moist-southern-pound-cake

Other recipes

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