Monday, June 30, 2014

Daring Bakers Sweet Roll Challenge

I'm a little behind on my Daring Baker I haven't done one yet this year.  They have kinda gone into the same category as the mosiac I keep promising Dave I'll get done for that boarded up bathroom window.

But this month was cinnamon rolls.  I do love a warm cinnamon roll and I do make delicious caramel rolls but I haven't even made those for a while.  I was craving cinnamon rolls with an apple filling, it just sounded delicious, so this is the perfect reason to make them...I'm just doing my Daring Baker duty.

I use this bread recipe for the dough, but the filling is going to get mixed up a little.

I used this recipe from Harris Sisters GirlTalk blog for the apple filling
Crockpot Baked Apple Slices
5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter, cubed

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples.
  2. Add apples, sugars, apple juice, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to crockpot, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Place butter on top of apples
  4. Cook on high for 1 1/2 hours or on low for 4-5 hours. Stir mixture halfway through cooking.
I used Jazz apples and Granny Smith, you choose your favorite. 

I made the filling in the morning, strained the apples in a fine mesh strainer and kept the apples and the sauce separated, the apples for the filling and the sauce for the glaze.
Then made the bread dough, let it rise once, rolled it out filled it with the apples, cut it and placed it in the pan and then into the fridge.  I love doing them this way.  In the morning, I pull them out of the fridge, heat the oven then bake.  Warm cinnamon rolls for breakfast and no work in the morning.

I did mix the reserved apple sauce with a little confectioner's sugar to make a glaze and drizzled it over each cinnamon roll before serving.

This is a nice way to start the week.

2 years ago:  Peaches with Basil Almond Shortcake and Lost Children and Puppies

June 30, 2014   Sunrise: 3:09  Sunset 12:38  Temp. H 76/ L 56°F

Friday, June 27, 2014

Individual Quiche

I have this pet-peeve.  When I check my weather app on my phone, it always has Fairbanks at night.  It doesn't matter what time of day it is, we are in the dark.  We even have stars.  I wonder if it is a little confused because the sun goes down the day after it comes up?  Some app developer has a mistake in the program and it should be light all the time, not dark. 

But because Fairbanks is a unique place, we do sometimes confuse the rest of the world.  Right now we are enjoying almost 24 hours of daylight, and it never really gets dark, just a little dusky.  The midnight sun baseball game is played starting at 10:00 p.m. with no exterior lights, only by the sunlight.  The Midnight Sun fun-run starts at 10:00 and is a 10K, everyone runs in the daylight, no street lights needed.  And, my husband and the hippy-boy play in a softball tournament that starts at 12:00 a.m. and goes until the championship game (about 6:00 p.m.) without any additional lighting needed.  As you can see, we have lots of daylight.  According to the world clock, we don't even get dark, we just get "civil twilight" what ever that is.

So come-on Yahoo weather app, get it together! (You would think all those geniuses would be able to figure it out)

These mini quiches are great any time of the day.  They can be breakfast, lunch or dinner, and considering all the light around here, who really knows what time it is.  Put the seasonings or cheese or meat of your choice to flavor them how you like them.  I love them for lunch with a salad.  You can also make a batch, freeze them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, once frozen throw them in a bag and take them out to reheat as needed.  An easy, delicious addition to taking lunch to work.

Individual Quiche
from Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity blog

1 batch of your favorite pie crust
10 eggs
3.5 cups half and half
1 tsp good quality sea salt
1/2 tsp dried dill
7 Tbsp flour
Swiss or mozzarella cheese
Toppings of your choice (veggies, shredded cheese, diced cooked meats, etc.)
  1. Roll your dough out to your desired thickness.  I found about 1/8 of an inch was pretty decent.  Thin enough to work with, and thick enough to hold all the stuff inside.
  2.  Grease a muffin tin.  REALLY REALLY well.  I used organic olive oil cooking spray.
  3.  Using a very large circular cookie cutter, cut out your dough, and place in the muffin tins.
  4. Whisk your eggs, flour, dill, sea salt, and half and half together thoroughly.
  5. Place 1/4 cup of the egg mixture in each pastry lined cup.
  6. Place your desired fillings in each cup.  I did diced Canadian bacon and shredded cheddar cheese, but the possibilities are endless.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, and then gently loosen them with a knife, and remove using a fork.  Place each quiche on a baking rack to cool completely.  Serve either at room temperature, or heat just prior to serving.
June 27, 2014  Sunrise: 3:03 Sunset 12:45  Temp H 66/ L 48°F

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Brownie Bites with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

So my workout buddy had decided to cut back a little.  She goes to two bootcamp sessions and has decided to cut back to one.  The problem is she is continuing the early session, I attend the later session.  I get up at 5:00, brush my teeth, fill my water bottle and show up to the second half of the early session.  I join in but know that my full session really starts at 5:45.  Now Michelle wants me to show up for the 5:00, I just don't know that I can do that.

I told her I would try, so last night I set my alarm clock for 4:45am.  I went to bed nice and early, had my work out clothes set out and did the little "You can do this, it is only 15 minutes earlier than normal," pep talk.  I fell alarm went said 4:45.  Holy crap it seemed so much earlier!  I figured I might be messing with my sleep cycle or something, those 15 minutes were important.  I stumbled into the bathroom and started brushing my teeth.  "Wow, it must be a cloudy day, it should be bright daylight outside and it seems kinda' dark."  I look at the bathroom clock, "I just changed the batteries in that clock and they are not working again!  I wonder if it is time to replace it, this clock says 1:15."  I stumble into the bedroom to get dressed and look at Dave's clock.  It says 1:15!  Crap, I must have messed up my clock when I was resetting the alarm.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my alarm clock is from when I was in high school, so over 30 years old!  I'm just very thankful Dave was camping and I didn't wake him up...also, if Dave was home I would have gotten dressed in the bathroom and just walked out the door!  I would have been so mad showing up to bootcamp and not having anyone else there!

Well, I went back to bed and slept until 5:00.  I woke up with a start (my alarm did not go off) and brushed my teeth (again), got dressed, checked the clocks in the kitchen (just to be sure), and headed off to exercise.  I'll try to make the early session again on Wednesday.

In the meantime, I'm filling up on good fats (peanuts) and antioxidants (dark chocolate).  These brownie bites are the perfect combination of both.  Add to that some calcium (cream cheese) and you have nothing but health food here.  Today, I'm eating extra, I need all the help I can get.

Brownie Bites with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I use the "One bowl Brownie" recipe on the box of Baker's Chocolate

pkg.  (4 oz.) BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
cup  butter or margarine
cups  sugar
tsp.  vanilla
cup  flour

HEAT oven to 350°F.

LINE mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Scoop into cups with two teaspoons or a small disher.
BAKE 15 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 - 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2  cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I don't know why, but natural doesn't work as well for this, use a brand)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift powdered sugar into a mixer bowl.  Add cream cheese, butter, peanut butter and vanilla.  Mix until well combined and creamy.
Spoon a small amount of frosting onto each brownie bite, or pipe on with a decorator tip.

Makes 60 brownie bites.

2 years ago: 

June 25, 2014   Sunrise 3:01 am  Sunset 12:46 am  Temp. H 66/ L 50°F

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pasta with fresh vegetables and a new addition to our neighborhood

Sunday morning I got up to finish the sourdough bread I started Saturday night.  I was measuring the flour and I happened to look out the window, some movement had caught my eye.

This is what I saw, so I ran to my office and grabbed my telephoto lens.  Then I could see this...

Our neighbors had a robin nest under their window and it looks like at least one of the babies has hatched and grown enough to make an outing.  However, he was small enough to still need snacks on his great quest across the street, to the mother robin was back and forth feeding him.

She did see me in the window and wasn't too happy about it, I didn't want to spook her, so I took a quick couple of pictures and backed off.  I didn't want Jr. here to miss any snacks because Momma was doing the stare-down with me.

It lasted a couple of hours, then the sun hit the backside of the shed and the little bird hopped to the other side of the roof.  I don't know how long he stayed there, but it was a beautiful day for an outing.

It was also a beautiful day for dinner outside.  I made this pasta dish with fresh tomatoes, garlic and spinach.  I used moose Italian sausage, and it would be a great recipe to help me use some of the extra ground beef I have.  The recipe came from an Ellie Krieger cookbook under the vegetarian section, but Dave doesn't think it is dinner without some meat.  You could make it with or with-out.

Pasta with grape tomatoes, spinach and garlic
adapted from Ellie Krieger, Weeknight Wonders

1 lb. Italian sausage or ground meat
4 medium cloves garlic
4 cups grape tomatoes
3 cups lightly packed baby spinach
3/4 pound pasta
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, optional

Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.  While the water heats, peel and thinly slice the garlic and halve the tomatoes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Brown the sausage until no pink remains.  Drain any extra fat from the pan.  Add the garlic, stirring frequently, cook until fragrant and softened.  Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook, stirring once or twice, until the tomatoes are warm and softened but still retain their shape, about 4 minutes.  Coarsely chop the spinach and stir in into the tomatoes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and cover to keep warm until the pasta is ready.  Grate the Parmesan cheese for the top and set aside (if using).
Meanwhile, once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, then drain.  Add the pasta to the skillet along with the salt and pepper and toss to combine.  Serve garnished with the cheese, if desired.
Makes 4 servings

2 years ago:  Friendship Bread and Almond Joy Muffins

June 23, 2014   Sunrise:  2:59 am  Sunset 12:47 am   Temp. H 72/ L 50°F

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pictures of Dinner

So, my family teases me a lot about taking pictures of food.  Usually, they are all sitting down for dinner or dessert and I'm like,"Wait a minute, I have to take a picture first."  They all groan.

So this morning, when I picked up my camera (it is usually sitting on the kitchen table) and looked to see what photos I haven't downloaded yet, this is what I found...

This was the Baby Boy's dinner.  He goes to class this semester from 6:30-8:00, right at dinner time, so we always leave his dinner in the fridge.  He eats when he gets home.  This particular night, I had already gone upstairs, put on my pjs and was watching T.V. or reading, then I went to bed.

This carb-fest is what he had for dinner.  Keep in mind I had lovingly made dinner for him and he ate this...not the lovely grilled pork tenderloin with home made mushroom gravy, broccoli, and salad I had made and left for him...
No, this.  He did get some protein with those carbs.  And he wonders why he didn't feel so well the next day?

1 year ago:   Summer Problems and Salmon with Orange and Radish Salad
2 years ago:  Tiramisu Cupcakes and the difficult Cupcake delivery

June 20, 2014   Sunrise: 2:58 am, Sunset 12:47 am  Temp. H 71/ L 53°F

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Boy's Camping Trip

This was the boy's camping weekend.  I drove out on Saturday afternoon, had dinner with them, visited with my niece a bit, picked up the baby boy and came home.  The Bboy had to come home and get homework done for class on Monday morning so he couldn't stay.

They all had a great time, Dave came back sunburned on Monday.  I know this is the first of many weekend trips.
Hershey's favorite place, in Dave's lap.

The Bboy taking a nap after digging new horseshoe pits...he was tired.

My niece and nephew and two great nephews.

The camp and campers, I'm surprised no one is being carried away by mosquitoes.  They were really bad.

More of the camp

The only wildlife I saw that whole day.

Part of the stream

The view from the camp

I guess I like that piece of dead tree, I took like 57 pictures of it, so you get to see two.
They had a fun uneventful weekend until my nephew wrecked his 4-wheeler.  He went in to the emergency room but no broken bones or cracked ribs.  The road rash is quite impressive and he will be feeling it for a while, but all it good.  And I thought it would be one of the kids that crashed and burned!

June 17, 2014   Sunrise: 2:59 am  Sunset 12:45 am   Temp. H 68/ L 48°F

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kale Salad

Ahhh, the boys went camping for the weekend and the girls are home alone.  Time for pedicures, chick flicks, chocolate without judgements, and salad for dinner.

I try to make Dave eat salad for dinner about once a week, he does, then he eats about 14 Slim Jims before bed...I don't know if the salad plan is really helping.  We are having this beautiful salad for dinner, just before we eat our weight in buttered popcorn and chocolate as we cry through some movie.
Johnny Jump-Ups from the Garden
Have a healthy, restful weekend, everyone.

Kale Salad
adapted from Ellie Kreiger, Weeknight Wonders
2 bunches organic kale
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
6 dried apricots

Remove ribs from kale and tear into bite size pieces.  In a measuring cup add oil, vinegar, honey and salt.  Mix well.  Pour over salad and massage dressing into kale for 30-60 seconds.

Toast pine nuts until golden brown and fragrant.  Pour onto plate to cool.  Dice apricots and add to salad, top with pine nuts.
The Iris are blooming...finally.
1 year ago:   Fear of the Zombie Apocalypse and Zombie Cocktails
2 years ago:  Peach Lemon aide and First Friday Steel Drums

June 13, 2014   Sunrise 3:04 am  Sunset 12:40   Temp: H 69/ L 51°F

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Grilled Chicken with Zucchini Noodles and Avocado Cream

We spent the weekend in Anchorage with my sister in law and her husband.  The blond boy and the DIL came up for a wedding,the hippy boy came up from Fairbanks, and one niece lives in Anchorage so we had some very fun family time.

On Friday afternoon we flew to Anchorage, Dave and I were waiting at the airport for our ride and we were sitting on a concrete bench that circled the water fountain.  It was about 3 feet high.  Dave mentioned that he didn't know if he could jump up on that and I said, "I can, we do box jumps at boot camp that high all the time."  Famous last words!  I jump up, turn around and begin to jump...

About half way through the jump I think...I have sandals on, not tennies, my jeans are just a little too tight, I don't think I am going to make it...ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION!  And I landed right on my shins.  OUCH.
Here it is right after I did it.  Notice the lovely goose egg forming on the left?

This is today.  It is shiny because I have anitbiotic cream on it.

Dave was not sympathetic at all.  He kept laughing and asking me what possessed me to do something so stupid? (His exact words)  Now he says I can't wear a dress until the shins heal.  I wore a dress today anyway.  I didn't get any sympathy, I did drink a lot of champagne that night!

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream
adapted from Skinny Meals, Bob Harper

4 small-medium zucchini
4 grilled Chicken Breasts, sliced (We just grill with salt free seasoning for this)

Avocado Sauce
1 avocado
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
4 tsp. grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Slice the zucchini very thinly lengthwise.  I used my mandoline, be careful you don't want stitches!  Then cut the strips into halves or thirds, depending on the size of the "noodle" you want.

Blend the avocado, basil, broth, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor.  Pour into a sauté pan to heat.  Once warm, add zucchini noodles to heat through.  Serve with grilled chicken and parmesan cheese, if desired.
Makes 4 servings

1 year ago:   Grilled Shrimp Salad with Berries and Losing my Husband
2 years ago:  Cheater French Onion Soup on the Grill

June 11, 2014   Sunrise: 3:07 am  Set 12:36 am    Temp. H 60/L 40°

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Taco Soup and 20 lbs. of burger

Some things to give you perspective:
I am the shopper in our house.  I shop for the clothes, groceries, household goods, cleaning get the picture.  I also plan all the meals, and prepare most of them, so I know what is in my pantry, fridge, and freezer.  That is just the way the chores fall out in our house, and I'm fine with cooking, if someone else will wash my underwear.

We eat moose.  Dave and his entourage go hunting every September and we almost always have moose in the freezer.  Right now we have about 50 lbs. of  moose burger.  It is good, but I don't cook a lot with burger, so it is about the last of the moose we have from last year.

So, when my husband called and said, "Fred's (our favorite shopping center) has burger on sale for $1.99 a pound.  I have 40 pounds in my cart, how much more should I get?" I was caught off guard!  Our conversation went something like this...

Me -"Um, you know we have 50 lbs. of burger in the freezer?"
Him -"Yes, but this is such a good deal."
Me - "When was the last time you ate something made with burger?"
Him - "Well, beef prices are going up, we should buy this now while it is on sale."
Me - "You know that would give us 90 lbs. of burger in the freezer and moose season is only 3 months away."
Him - (in a very disappointed voice) "You want me to put half back?"
Me - (trying not to say "No, put it all back!" but wanting to compromise) "Yes, I think half would be good."

So now I am the proud owner of a freezer with 70 lbs. of burger.  We will be doing a lot of Friday night burger nights at my house.  We will have tacos once a week for a while.  The Baby Boy doesn't like spaghetti and the Chick doesn't like meatloaf, and keep in mind the kids are dairy free, so I am struggling to figure out how to use 70 lbs. in the 13 weeks before moose season!

It was cold this week, so I made a pot of taco soup.  And to go with it, I made oven fried flautas.  Two recipes that used burger!  I made some flautas with cheese and some without.  

I could use some burger ideas, come over Friday and tell me your burger recipes, and for your trouble, I'll feed you a hamburger.

Taco Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. hamburger
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (I use this homemade taco seasoning)
1(15 oz.) can black beans
1 (30 oz.) can spicy chili beans
1 (15 oz.) can Mexican tomatoes (tomatoes with green chilies)
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can corn
1 1/2 cups water
Optional toppings:
sour cream or greek yogurt
tortilla chips
chopped tomatoes
green onions

In a large stockpot, sauté onion in olive oil until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add hamburger and brown completely.  Add the taco seasoning and cook for one minute.  Add all the other ingredients, including the liquid from each can.  Simmer 15 minutes, until warmed through and flavors melt.  Serve and top with your choice of toppings.

1 year ago:   Light Pina Colada and the Wood Chipper
2 years ago: Light Banana Cream Pie and a Secret

June 5, 2014   Sunrise 3:21 am  Sunset 12:20 am   Temp: H 57/ L 49°F