Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rrroll Up The Rim!

It's that time of year again...if you're Canadian and addicted to the crack that is Tim Horton's coffee, you know it's time to Rrroll Up The Rim To Win! As if Timmy's didn't sell enough liquid crack already, during Rrroll Up The Rim To Win, people go nuts over their caffeine addiction for their chance to win donuts, coffee or sandwiches at Timmy's, cash, and other prizes like BBQs and a Toyota Rav4.

Pipkin normally gets himself a small coffee at Timmy's, but you have to go bigger to win, so he bought a medium in order to get a game cup. He was also smart enough not to get a donut at the time, because he won!!  He's pretty happy about the prize, because he wanted it more than the BBQ, the car, or a bunch of money. (But Pipkin, money can be exchanged for even more donuts!) Pipkin's not greedy. He won what he wished for, so he hopped up to the counter to choose his prize.

Maple Dip is the natural choice for a labbit in Canada who lives in Vermont. Bon appetit Pip, you lucky labbit!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How To Ship Cake Pops

 The labbits have been asked how their labbit cake pops were shipped, so here are a few photos of how they wrapped up their delicious rabbit shaped treats.

The labbit pops were first wrapped in 3"x4" treat bags and secured with a twist tie, then chilled for at least 12 hours in a refrigerator. This hardened all the icing details so they wouldn't be damaged in shipping.

Next, the labbits got themselves a sturdy box for mailing. They just repurposed a box that would hold about 8 labbit pops. They lined the box first with tissue paper and then with bubble wrap.

Next, the cake pops were placed in the box with some space separating them. They shouldn't be touching...you don't want icing to get smooshed or smeared. The light background showed the spacing and placement of the labbit pops for this photo, but you should put some shredded paper at the bottom of the box before adding your labbit pops.

The most important thing about shipping cake pops is that they don't move, so make sure you take lots of shredded paper and stuff it around the cake pops so they don't shift. You can close up your box and shake it a little to make sure things aren't moving.

Fold down the bubble wrap and tissue paper, close the lid, and secure the box with tape. The labbits then wrapped the entire box with freezer paper (find it in the grocery store with the ziploc bags and parchment/wax papers) to keep the box dry, and labelled it for mailing. They were mailed away in southern Vermont and arrived two days later in San Francisco, safe and sound, but note this was in February! If you're mailing cake pops to a warmer climate or during hotter months, you may want to stick the package in the fridge, and slip a reusable ice pack in a ziploc bag into the box to keep things cool. Good luck with making and shipping your own labbit cake pops!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hello Down There!

Pipkin came across this very friendly black bear in Bradford, VT. Black bears have a varied diet of plants, seeds, and animals, but this big guy is friendly to labbits and eats vegetarian. Pipkin shared vegetarian recipes with Mr. Bear and they had a lovely chat about care of their fur. Then Pipkin enjoyed a lovely ride on the bear's paw to get a look at the world as if he were about 4 and a half feet tall. (Mr. Bear was about 6 feet on his hind legs.) What a view! Have you ever crawled around on the ground to see what life is like at 5 inches tall?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Careful What You Wish For!

Pipkin went to Lake Morey in Fairlee, VT this past weekend. Lake Morey Resort maintains a 4.5 mile skating track along the perimeter of Lake Morey, but in the center of the lake, there's a large, clear space for skating and ice hockey. The ice is maintained with brushes and shoveling, not with a zamboni. The conditions are quite good, with some bumpy areas and soft spots, depending on the weather.

Pipkin did a slippery hop around the 4.5 mile track, but he went to the center of the lake, wishing he could join in on a game of hockey. He didn't know how to play, but it certainly looked like fun. When he hopped a little closer, someone asked if he wanted to play. Pipkin said yes!! But...things didn't turn out the way he hoped...

"Hey, wait! What's going on??"

Uh oh. Pipkin's not gonna win this face-off...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Labbit Cakepops: Valentine's Day Edition

The labbits made cakepops for Valentine's Day gifts. The holiday calls for red, of course. The color of labbit lurve. Click here to find out how to make these yourself!

Think of those you love today, even if they are far away or no longer with you. <3

All wrapped up and ready for gifting!

You can find clear plastic treat bags at a crafts store. Secure with ribbon or a shiny twist tie.

Dat tail! Marshmallow cuteness. I know you wanna bite it!


Will you be mine?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year of the Snake Sillinesssss

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year! Welcome, Year of the Snake. The labbits are celebrating with a snakey conga line.


Warren and Pipsqueak watched Alien last night, which inspired this not-so-scary photo. Nice try, guysssss.

How are you celebrating the Lunar New Year? Hopefully with yummy things to eat. Here are some recipes to try, courtesy of Chef Jimmy and the labbits:

Hong Kong Egg Tarts

Sweet Potato and Shiitake Mushroom Wontons

Vegetarian Stuffed Bao

Friday, February 8, 2013

Egg Tarts, Tarts Full o' Sunshine!

While the labbits hunker down and ride out the Nor'easter (and hope for 16+ inches of snow!) Captain Holly joined the warren's special Guest Chef Jimmy to make something warm, tasty and sunshine-y.

It'll be a couple days before the labbits see the sun again, so why not make these happy looking Egg Tarts? Sunday is also the Chinese Lunar New Year - the Year of the Snake. So the labbits will be busy cleaning the warren, and enjoying all the Asian inspired delights that Chef Jimmy has shown them.

Captain Holly took over making his favorite tart crust from the mini Green Tea Cream Pies and Chai Tea Cream Pies he made in the fall. Chef Jimmy made the sunshine-y egg custard filling. It's quite simple, and here's how it's done! Click here to print the recipe.

Egg Tarts

Crust Ingredients:
1 cup flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ lb cold butter, cut in small pieces
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp ice water
up to 1-½ Tbsp granulated sugar (optional, Captain Holly didn't use any) 

Note: This is enough dough for 6 Egg Tarts, but there is enough filling for a full dozen. Double up the crust recipe if you'd like to make a full dozen tarts, or half the filling recipe below, or make crustless Egg Custards (variation below) in addition to the Egg Tarts.

Egg Tart Filling Ingredients:
1-½ cup Water
¾ cup Sugar
4 Large eggs
¼ cup Evaporated Milk
½ tsp Vanilla

Crust Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt, and up to 1-½ tablespoons of sugar if you want to sweeten the crust slightly. Cut in the butter with your paws (wash them first!) or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal or tiny peas.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk and ice water together, add to the flour mixture, and blend until the pastry is smooth and holds together in a ball. Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Remove plastic and sandwich ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper and roll the dough into a disk about 1/8" thick. Use a 4" cookie cutter to cut out a circle of pie crust dough. There should be enough dough for 6 mini pie crusts. Take all the leftover pieces of dough for the last circle, and roll it out with your paws. Press the disks into a lightly greased muffin tin. Place the muffin tin in the fridge while you prepare the filling. Putting the tin in the fridge helps the filling keep its shape when it bakes.

Filling Preparation:
Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and set it aside to cool.

Next beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the evaporated milk. Pour in the cooled sugar water and mix thoroughly. Finally, mix in the vanilla.

Pour the custard through a sieve. This ensures a smooth filling with no lumpy, hard egg bits. Pour strained custard into the pie crust shells, until the filling almost reaches the top.

Bake the tarts at 425ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg mixture has risen and the crust is golden brown. 

Allow to cool slightly before removing from muffin tin or tart pans. Serve while warm, and keep uneaten portions in an airtight container.

Watching your labbity figure and wanting to save on calories from the oh-so-buttery-flaky-crust? (Sorry.) Well, you can lightly spray ramekins and pour 1/2 cup of the egg tart filling in each ramekin and bake for 20 - 25 mins at 425°F. Same custard goodness, minus the crust. This is also a great option for those with gluten allergies/sensitivities.

Yields: Six mini sized egg tarts, plus four 1/2 cup ramekins. There is enough egg custard filling to make one dozen egg tarts, so remember to double up on the crust if you'd like a full dozen. This would also make six 1/2 cup ramekin servings.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Waiting For the Snow to Fall

Even the kitty is waiting for snow.

It's been a pretty disappointing winter in Vermont. Better than last year, but still not great. Warm spells here and there have melted away most of the snow, as you can see in these pictures. But there's a big Nor'easter headed for New England, and Bellows Falls is sitting in the 12" - 16" snowfall zone.

Photo courtesy of vpr.net

The labbits have paws and whiskers crossed that there will be at least 16" of snow. SNOW! Maybe they should be doing a snowdance instead of parking their labbit butts by the window.

Soon, labbits, soon.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sweet Potato and Shiitake Mushroom Wontons

The labbits are still enjoying having special Guest Chef Jimmy with them in the warren. Tonight, Chef Jimmy wanted to make some steamed wontons, and he decided he would stuff them with sweet potato and...oh, how about shiitake mushrooms? Pipkin assisted in the kitchen and loved making these tasty wontons. Where does Jimmy come up with these flavor combinations? (Mostly by picking blindly in the refrigerator.) Print out the recipe for these wontons here.

Little wontons all in a row - ready for the steam basket!
Sweet Potato and Shiitake Mushroom Wontons


1 sweet potato
1/2 cup Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
2 or 3 stalks scallions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic (Jimmy forgot to photograph the garlic, whoops)
White pepper
Wonton wrappers
Chef Jimmy doesn't think it's all that practical to heat up an oven just for one potato, so he's going to microwave his potato. In less time than it takes to pre-heat the oven, you can cook a potato in the microwave. So grab your sweet potato, poke a bunch of holes in it with a fork, and throw it in the microwave for 6 or 7 minutes, until you can pierce it through with a fork and it is soft.

Meanwhile, chop your shiitake mushrooms, and finely chop the scallions and garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute, then add the mushrooms and saute until they soften and release their juices. Set aside in a medium bowl.

Let your potato cool a little, then peel the skin and discard. Toss your potato into a bowl and mash. (Jimmy calls it the Monster Mash *groan*) Add the mushrooms, garlic and scallions and stir to mix. Add in a little salt and white pepper and give it a final good mix.

Scoop a ball of the potato mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper. If you like wonton triangles, fold the wrapper in half, wet a finger with some water, and seal the edges. Jimmy want his to look kind of like shumai, so he's going make a soft fist and wrap the edges up around the filling. Easy, quick, and looks kinda cool!
Fill a large pot with an inch of water and fit in your steamer basket. Once the water's near boiling, turn the heat on low-medium. You want steam, but you don't need the water at a hard boil. Steam the wontons in the steamer basket in batches, if necessary, making sure the wontons don't touch eachother in the basket. Steam 15 minutes or until the wrappers are soft and translucent.

Remove wontons from steamer basket and enjoy as an appetizer, as part of a dim sum spread, or in a soup with noodles (for wonton noodle soup you will want to make folded and sealed triangle wontons so the wonton don't fall apart in the soup).

Yield: About 16 wontons

Friday, February 1, 2013

Labbits Run on Cookie Fuel: Soft Ginger Date Cookies

Labbit labbit! It's February 1st, the heart of winter. Did you think Doddy Blue and Masher McBuns were slacking off in the off-season? Heck, no! They've both been in the pool, but Doddy Blue's been focussed on running and Masher McBuns has been mashing his buns on the bike - alas indoors - on his trusty bike trainer.

They have been watching their labbity race physiques post-holiday, and you may have noticed their absence from the kitchen after their little baking accident...but they're back to share a new recipe with you!

Doddy Blue, winter labbit that he is, has a plush exterior that's impervious to the cold and this weekend he's running a Mid-Winter Classic 10 miler. The fuel of choice for labbits is cookies, but who wants all the fat and guilt? If what you want is flavor and fuel, try out these moist, chewy, spicy ginger cookies, courtesy of pastry chef and Green Mountain runner, Gesine Bullock-Prado. The dates give these cookies flavor and moisture without having to use butter or oil, and the coffee...well, the labbits did promise fuel, right? Each cookie weighs in at around 66 calories, so you can snack happy. Enjoy the cookies, and wish Doddy Blue luck on his 10 miler this Sunday!

Print out the recipe by clicking here.

Soft Ginger Date Cookies
3/4 cup hot coffee
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Combine coffee and dates and stir in baking soda. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Put mixture in a food processor; process until nearly smooth.

In a bowl, whisk eggs and molasses. Continue whisking and add date puree. (Hey - is Blue getting into the ginger?)

In another bowl, whisk flour, salt and spices. Stir into date mixture.

Stir in ginger pieces until just combined. Freeze till very firm but scoopable (30 minutes). Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Using a tablespoon, drop dough into little mounds, a few inches apart, on a parchment-lined tray. Sprinkle sugar over cookies. Bake 10 minutes or until they feel spongy yet firm and spring back when gently poked.

Yield: Makes about 30 cookies.