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Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Smoothie Fest

In Cooking, Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I have been avoiding my kitchen like the plague.  Moving and packing stinks. Packing dishes, pots, pans and etc stinks 2x. So I have been living on random food from my pantry, Hill Country BBQ and gas station fair. While avoiding this area of my house I have still been drinking smoothies. What? It’s a good ten minutes. In – out and I live to avoid that room for another day.  Plus these sweet chilly concoctions are a great way to start a hot summer’s day.

 Whole Living Smoothies titles are linked to recipes

Mango – Coconut Water 

I used some frozen mango and pineapple. I can actually consume coconut water this way!! Otherwise I find it vile, which is sad considering it’s health benefits.

Blueberry and Green Tea 

This was my favorite of the three. Like blueberry sorbet. Very fresh and bright.

Chamomile-Banana This one was more like a milkshake. Very tasty and the banana went well with the tea. Next time I am going to try the addition of ginger.

Less than one week till the moving day!! Pretty soon I am going to have to face more than the blender in the kitchen… Here’s hoping the beginning of your summer is bright and filled with fruit!

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Weekly Boozer: Bourbon Slushes

In Uncategorized, Weekly Boozer on May 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

When I think of certain people they remind me of certain drinks. Maybe it is their personality. Or because of a fond memory shared with them. Possibly it is their favorite libation or the only one they are willing to consume. Sometimes it is because they wrote the recipe or it is a family tradition. This is Amy’s drink – Bourbon Slushes. I think of her anytime I hear about or drink this cocktail and vice versa. Don’t under-estimate this drink, a picture could never do it justice!!

Bourbon Slushes

3 cups bourbon, cheap (I hesitated, but took her advice… after all it is “her” drink!)
3 cups sugar
6 tsps instant tea, unsweetened 
1 container orange juice concentrate, plus 4 of water
1 container lemonade concentrate, plus 4 of water
 
lemon-lime soda, chilled (diet if you prefer)

Directions: In a very large bowl combine: bourbon (we used Evan Williams), sugar and tea granules. Mix well until most of the sugar and tea has dissolved (you don’t want clumps of instant tea or sugar – bleck!); Stir in concentrates and water and pour into containers to freeze. I used a large bowl with a lid, but if you want slushes faster you could use ice-cube trays or smaller Tupperware. Freeze (takes about 6-8 hours). Remove desired amount from freezer and stir with a fork to create slush; fill glasses 2/3 to 3/4 full and then top with lemon-lime soda. Drink up 😀

These are sweet, sour, tangy and very cool. Perfect for the summer, a BBQ or any type of party because it makes quite a bit. P.S. I think the cheap sour mash bourbon really gives it a key part of the flavor. Amy says they almost always use cheap because you are freezing it. All I know is I love bourbon slushes – they remind me of my dear friend.

Caramel Apple Cookies

In Baking, Uncategorized on May 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I woke up this morning and knew I would make cookies. Not what kind or why, just that it was going to be apart of my next 24 hours. It’s a good feeling, like when you eat Oreo’s for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Anyways, back to the point I made caramel apple cookies. Why? I’m packing. Packing = finding things, getting rid of things and etc.  I had an open packaging of caramel bits and that lead to the hunt for other open items. (That is when I found dried apples and decided to give this a go!) See I am on the mover’s diet. I am trying to use up what is in my fridge and other items, like these, which I have no desire to pack and un-pack. My grocery trips are weird. People look and wonder. That’s okay, because I get to eat cookies. Cookies that taste like pie!!!

Caramel Apple Cookies

  • 3/4 cup all-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dried apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup caramel bits

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Mix shortening, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chopped apple and caramel bits. Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes (bake longer if you like crisp cookies) and transfer to cooling rack.

Oh my – if you threw in some apple pie spice or even just cinnamon you would have a slice of apple pie in a cookie. The bits of apple that a peeking out of the dough get browned giving them a slightly crisp, slightly chewy texture and amazing flavor. Plus they are easy as pie, well actually 10x easier than making pie!

Weekly Boozer: Shiner Ruby Redbird

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Ruby Redbird is Shiner’s newest seasonal beer designed for summer.  It is brewed with grapefruit and ginger.

The ginger is what really got me excited about this brew. Well and unlike most I LOVE grapefruit. Unfortunately I found the ginger to be subtle and really not noticeable until the finish. Which is still delightful, just not as prominent as I had hoped.  The contrast is perfect though – I will definitely be cooking something up with grapefruit and ginger in the near future. I also look forward to cooking chicken on the grill with the beer itself. Back to it: you can smell the citrus and grapefruit aroma off the bat! Very refreshing, crisp and slightly tart – as good grapefruit should be. Only the slightest hint of bitterness. Little to no head on the pour; which dissipated quickly. Beautiful red-orange amber color!! Overall I would buy this beer again, but it is not something I would want to drink a plethora of in one evening.  I will be interested to see if any non-grapefruit eaters will find anything for them in this brew. I would be surprised, as the grapefruit really sings through on multiple levels; but, beer has a way of bringing people, things and new experiences together.

Oh and I am smitten with the name! Ruby Redbird. So rockabilly and almost vintage. Definitely a bright and sassy name for this new summer brew. Enjoy!

Loaf of Palmsey

In Baking, Uncategorized on May 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

We have a really good friend. He is a bread maker. A darn good bread maker. We recently dined at his house with his lovely and talented wife. Am I laying it on too thick? Oh. Well our friend, whom I will refer to as Palmsey, gave my husband a bread making lesson. Yeah for Palmsey!  In the process he shared the recipe for “his” bread, which we refer to as a Loaf of Palmsey. It’s not measured in cups.  That is why I believe Palmsey to be a real bread maker and I am an apron clad house-wife baker. Too much again? Hmm well here is the recipe:

 Loaf of Palmsey:

Equipment:
Stand Mixer
Dutch Oven, with lid
Covered Bowl for rising 
Brotform, or a bowl will work nicely
Scale
 
Ingredients: 
18 to 21 ounces bread flour
water, 70% of the flour weight 
 
… yes you will require a scale and possibly a calculator for this, but it is worth it!
 
2 tsps salt
1-2 tsps rapid rise yeast

Directions: Add flour, water, salt and yeast to stand mixer. *Note if you are not a baker, bread maker or just weren’t privy – salt kills yeast so make sure to add them on separate sides of the bowl where they do not come into contact. Mix ingredients until hydrated.  Let dough rest for about 2 minutes. Oil hands; stretch and fold dough every 10 minutes for 30 to 40 minutes; or until it feels smooth (but a minimum of 3x). Place dough in an oiled container; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and allow to double in mass.  Shape dough. Place in a floured brotform, or bowl, and allow to rise again until doubled.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 degrees with dutch oven inside.  Place shaped loaf inside dutch oven, cover with lid and allow to bake for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove lid and allow loaf to continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (total time of 30 minutes); or until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Remove bread and allow to cool on a rack.

I know this doesn’t look or sound simple, but it really came together quickly. The list of ingredients is so simple and the results are definitely delicious. It is a nice crusty bread, which is attained through the rising/baking methods detailed above. I know we will continue to make this bread in our house and we are both grateful for Palmsey and his bread slinging lesson.

P.S. if there is an error in ingredients or instructions blame my husband – he relayed the info. I took pictures and ate bread 😀

Leftover Fruit Smoothie

In Cooking, Uncategorized on May 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I know. I know. That doesn’t sound appetizing, but I am working with the abundance of leftover fruit from my company this weekend.  It includes: watermelon, blueberries and bananas.  If you can think of a clever smoothie name that describes these things then – touché! I can not. It’s a smoothie, there is leftover fruit. It’s purpley. Promise it’s tasty. The End.

Ingredients:

1/2 large banana, frozen
1/3 cup blueberries, frozen
1 cup watermelon, chopped
1/4 cup pineapple juice, chilled 
1/4 cup ice

Directions: Combine all the ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Pour in a glass. Ta Da beautiful, delicious and nutritious breakfast, or snack… or whatever.

I love that this is an all fruit smoothie (i.e. no dairy or added sugars). It tasted like something from Smoothie King (a smoothie company I adore.) It was a beautiful, naturally sweet and refreshing breakfast.  I have never made a smoothie with watermelon before, but to be honest that flavor did not stand out.  Tomorrow I may try something focusing more on that fruit alone… especially since I have A LOT of it. Watermelon and ginger, or green tea, or ??? should prove interesting.

P.S. I like drinking my breakfast. Is that weird?

Red Velvet Cookies

In Baking, Uncategorized on May 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I grew up on cake mix cookies.  It was a big deal back in the day. Some genius mom figured out you could remove a whole lot of time and measuring by using cake mix as dry ingredients for other recipes besides cake. Dear lady, thank you – you rock! We made all kinds growing up, yellow with chocolate chips, lemon, plain ol’ vanilla and iced them; but, we never dreamt of red velvet. Silly kids.

Red Velvet Cookies:

1 box of Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 cup cake flour
2 sticks of butter, room temp
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 package white chocolate chips
 
or you can roll old school: 
 
1 box cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Whip butter until soft and fluffy; slowly incorporate cake mix and flour.  Add egg  and vanilla and mix in completely.  Stir in white chocolate chips; form into one inch balls, or use a cookie scoop, and back for 8 – 10 minutes. Voilà!

Quick. Simple. Magical. Next time I am going to make them without the white chocolate chips and turn them into cookie sandwiches.  Maybe thin the cookie dough out a little and make Red Velvet Cream Pies (like the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies) with some fresh buttercream frosting in the middle. Oh… can’t wait 🙂

Weekly Boozer: Blue Lagoon Margaritas

In Uncategorized, Weekly Boozer on May 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm

It’s that time again. This week it was gladly received.  I have been drinking mostly beer and these delightful and stout margaritas were a delightful reprieve.  Really this should have been a Cinco de Mayo post, but Thursday I was drinking Shiner and grilling hot dogs. That’s how we roll. Today: Drinking… packing… some more drinking… some more drinking whilst avoiding packing. Lol. Some exaggerating.  There has mostly been errand running, packing and miscellaneous shopping, but these were in the mix somewhere.

Here is how to make your own:

Blue Lagoon Margaritas

Fancy paper umbrellas
… or orange, lime, etc for garnish
1 Tbsp coarse sugar (or salt… I am a salt rim kinda gal)
1/2 cup Sprite, chilled
1/2 cup Tequila
1/3 frozen limeade concentrate, partially thawed 
1/2 cup Blue Curacao
2 ounces pineapple juice
2 cups ice cubes
 

Directions: Sprinkle sugar or salt… or mix onto plate; using water or citrus slice, rub the rim of glasses and then press into sugar/salt to rim glass. Combine remaining ingredients in blender, cover and process. Pour slushy blue goodness into prepared glasses. Enjoy.

 

Simple. Sweet. Oh so slightly tart. Tequila kick. Margaritas. Though I have to say not too fond of the name. Blue Lagoon… can’t help but think of creatures instead of pools of blue water.  They are a lovely blue and that thought quickly faded with each sip. Also I like saying Curacao. It reminds me of something Beavis & Butthead would say, over and over. I laugh and drink more, people stare and life is normal. Here is hoping your weekend is normal and Happy Mother’s Day to all (those with four legged children too! 😉 )! EO

Blogogy

In Baking, Cooking, Personal, Uncategorized on May 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm

This blog is an apology. Blogogy. Yes I made it up and now I’m moving on! It’s for the people who read this lil blog o’mine and well to myself.  I dropped the ball. I fell off the wagon… so to speak. More like recent events in life kicked me off the wagon, but that is the way it goes sometimes.  My life has been a whirlwind of events and emotions this last few weeks. There were good times filled with gut busting laughter, heart wrenching sad times, new experiences and stress. Buckets and buckets of stress. So while I can say that for the majority of my absence I did not cook, I did eat. I ate a lot… I even had the pleasure of being cooked for by some of my favorite foodie friends, but I am back and ready to be in the kitchen!  Oh and on the plus side my kitchen stayed spotless for almost two weeks!! 😉

Anyways, the time I have been away wasn’t completely without cooking and baking.  Until I can post a new recipe here are some ones that we tried over Easter weekend (actual recipes are linked to food titles) – hope you enjoy and that life hasn’t eaten you and spit you up.  I highly recommend avoiding it – like I said buckets and buckets of stress….

John Legend’s Macaroni and Cheese

There are really few words to describe this mac.  Cheesy, rich and did I say cheesy? We usually try a new mac recipe for holiday and family gatherings.  I have all kinds, but my favorite thing about this one was the use of canned milk.  I don’t know why it never occurred to me… after all I use it to make mashed potatoes. Any who, while I may never make this particular concoction again I will use canned milk in mac again and kudos to paprika for showing up on something besides a deviled egg!

Recipe and Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart (marthastewart.com)
 
 

 

 

 

 

Ad Hoc Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I felt dumb when I made this recipe. (Not because it isn’t delicious – it is a tasty cake!) I felt dumb because it never occurred to me to make this cake with fresh fruit.  I may never make it with canned again! Leave it to Thomas Keller to know too that this is the perfect time to add a little salt to draw out the beautiful caramel sweetness.  The other thing I adore about this recipe is the schmear. Schmear is what bread dreams are made of. I know, I know it doesn’t sound right… I am not particularly fond of the word, but it is true.  If you do not make this cake, at least try the schmear.  Make rolls with it or cinnamon toast, hell make it for the fun of it and thank me later – very good stuff!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Food Gal (foodgal.com)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Better-than-Brownie Chocolate Cookies

I tried these cookies/brownies to indulge my brownie obsession. Also because well they are made of chocolate… To be honest I don’t know if I was brain-dead when I tried this, missed a measurement or what, but my cookies weren’t cookies.  They didn’t hold up. So I baked the rest of the batter off as brownies. They were good brownies. Not the holy grail of brownies, but I certainly enjoyed them. Alone. I used 70% so they were a lil to chocolate for my husband. Oops. Oops again when I ate most of them 😉 lol.  Anyways I love this idea so I haven’t given up on it.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker (browneyedbaker.com)

 

 

Ialso made a ham for my Dad over Easter. We had two kinds, cause that is how my family does things (overkill…). Any who, it was a Food Network recipe and I cannot find it for the life of me, so I guess I am not sharing it. Oh well here is to you, me and food. EO