Friday, September 26, 2008

Apple Turnovers





The bonus recipe this month was chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry . It was Apple Turnovers. I was supposed to make these by mid September but it didn't really feel like Fall to me at that time. Today is Johnny Appleseed Day and thought this would be a great recipe to make in honor of that . I had great intentions of making these for my kids teachers but forgot to get the puff pastry out of the freezer this morning. I made them after school instead and shared with my neighbors. They were delicious. I drizzled some icing over the top and enjoyed hot out of the oven. I did add dried cranberries instead of the dried cherries. I also doubled the recipe this time so it would make enough to share.
A couple weeks ago my neighbor and I took our kids on an outing to the Apple orchard to pick apples from the tree. Breezy Acres Fruit Farm had so much to offer. The kids had fun picking apples off the trees and we ended up with over 1/2 a bushel of wonderful crisp Gala apples. The farm not only had apples and fresh pressed cider but also plums, peaches, pears, berries, grapes tomatoes and cucumbers. We have been enjoying all the goodies that we bought. We still have enough apples left to make Apple Caramel Cake (companies coming for dinner on Saturday) and Jeni's Upside down Apple Cake. These apples are amazing and incredibly crisp. I can't wait to go back and try some of there other 20 varieties of apples they grow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers Mushroom Soup

This week for Barefoot Bloggers we made Mushroom Soup. I love mushrooms and soups. I have made Hungarian Mushroom soup (my sister Jennys recipe) a dozen times and always loved it. I was excited about trying this soup. Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker chose Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup. It was so good! I loved how creamy it was and the texture between the mushrooms was perfect. This made allot of soup for 2 of us. My daughter tried a little bit and loved the base of the soup but didn't care for the mushrooms at all. I froze several small servings for future lunches.
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup by Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa At Home
5 oz fresh shitake mushrooms
5 oz fresh portabella mushrooms
5 oz fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 T good olive oil
1/4 lb + 1 T unsalted butter
1 c chopped yellow onion
1 chopped carrot
1 sprig fresh thyme + 1 tsp chopped minced thyme leaves,
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 c chopped leeks (white and light green parts)(2 leeks)
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 c dry white wine
1 c half-and-half
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Clean the mushrooms by wiping the with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems from the caps, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice caps 1/4" thick and, if they are big, cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 T butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, chopped onion, carrot, sprig of thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and cook over medium low heat about 10 - 15 minutes, until veggies are soft. Add 6 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock, if not add some water. Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 lb butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 - 20 minutes, until the leeks start to turn brown. Add the mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and bring to a boil Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.
See what the rest of the Barefoot Bloggers think, check here.
I did not have the three types of mushrooms so I left out the creminis. I used all the cream and half and half it called for. I won't be eating it everyday but enjoyed the richness of it. I thought it was a great Fall Soup. A little goes a long way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tip Junkie Question

I found a really fun blog through my friend Jeni of At Home in Georgia. It is called Tip Junkie http://tipjunkie.blogspot.com/ For Talk To Me Tuesday this week, the question asked was, "Who or What was your inspiration to start blogging?"
My friend Ellyn started it. She started an awesome blog about recipes and cooking. Her and her husband are both great cooks. I started checking it everyday. We were neighbors over 3 years ago. We were really good friends that shared allot of the same interests: cooking, BAKING, running, attending the same church...
Then Jeni got the bug and started a blog about cooking, scrapbooking, cards and decorating her first beautiful home. Jeni is the craftiest person that I know. Our kids are the same age and we could get together in Germany to make cards. She taught me so many things from embossing to stitchery.
When we moved back to the States this summer I decided I wanted to start one too. I discovered some fun blog groups to join! I loved reading about how my friends were doing and getting ideas for dinner or decorating from them. I also love seeing all of the pictures of there kids. They offer encouragement and fresh ideas on how to scrapbook, create cards, or recipes. It sounds silly but it has made my move to a new place so much easier. I have friends that I can catch up with through there blogs when I am missing them. It is so fun and I have enjoyed it so much!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dimply Plum Cake



This week for TWD we made Dimply Plum cake chosen by Michelle of Bake-en. I wasn't sure about the texture of the cake. I thought it would turn out like a Kuchen but instead it was a denser crumb almost like a coffee cake and sugar cookie combined. I made it in 3 individual pans. I cut up plums for the first two and peaches for the third. I had to reduce the baking time by 15 minutes.
We had friends over for dinner and they helped us eat it. I made maple whipped cream to serve on the top of each one. We were all so full from dinner that I quartered each piece. 3 out of 4 of us loved it but my husband didn't like the orange zest. I thought that it added a little extra something to the batter. I would make this again but serve it warm instead of room temp. This is a recipe I would normally skip. I have never been a huge plum tart fan but it was good. And change is always good! If you want to try something a little different then....maybe it is the recipe for you. I agree that it doesn't do well the next day. I threw the rest away this morning. It doesn't keep at all.
Thanks Michelle for choosing a unique recipe. When is anyone going to choose the Perfect Party Cake recipe? I am dying to make it! It looks so good with the layers of butter cream and raspberry jam.
P.S. I baked the cookies from last weeks recipe on Saturday night. They were so good! I loved them best warm out of the oven with a tall glass of cold milk. I can see why people were RAVING about these cookies. It was like eating melted chocolate with a tiny bit of flour to hold it together.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

AF Marathon












Thanks for all of the well wishes for my marathan. It was an experience I will never forget. I had the best day today running in the marathon. I had set a goal of trying to get my run down to 4 hours. I missed it by 2 minutes but had a great time doing it. I met a great gal that ran with me for over 20 miles. We had fun out there which is what I enjoyed the most. The first sets of hills I floated over. I had so much adrenaline and excitement for this day. We started at 7:30 and the temp was great. By the time I was done it was really starting to warm up. I saw some ambulances go out to help people. I prayed God with give me strength to get through the toughs spots and He did! I never really hit a wall this time. The last 4 miles were tough and I took 3 walking breaks to get up 2 sets of hills. During one of my walking moments I spotted my hubby and kids. They were holding signs and jumping up and down. Adorable! My husband told me to get running again. It gave me the strength I need to get through my last mile. I was a little disappointed when I looked down at my Garmin and it said that had run 26.2 but was not at the finish. My watch calculated the route being at 26.46, A little more then normal. Airplanes were flying overhead and it was awesome. People ran for a million reasons. It was neat reading what people had put on there shirts. The volunteers/fans were so nice and helpful. I loved having my name on my shirt and people giving encouragements I ran by! My pace leader was fun to talk too. He has run over 100 Ultra marathons!!! He was quite inspiring. I was reading a guys shirt that said, " Pain is Gods way of letting us know we are still alive." How true that is! I am sad that it is now over. I was so excited and nervous about it for such a long time. I will just have to train for another one and break 4 hours then,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mexican Meat Loaf

This is another comfort food for Fall. I have been meaning to try this recipe for years. I found it in a favorite cookbook called Hay Day Country Market. I have made tons of recipes from this book over the years and have had this recipe earmarked to try. My family enjoyed it. Let me rephrase that. My daughter and husband enjoyed it. It mades lots and we have now have leftovers. It is not a traditional meatloaf and mashed potatoes kind of dinner. Here is the recipe.
Mexican Meat Loaf
2 pds ground beef
2 large eggs
16 cured olives chopped
3/4tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1tsp salt
1 garlic clove crushed
5 oz jack cheese shredded
2 cups salsa
1 cup bread crumbs
3 corn tortillas shredded
1 head chopped lettuce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 chopped tomatoes
1/2 chopped onion
preheat oven to 350
combine beef, eggs, olives, cumin, chili powder, salt and a heaping cup of cheese in large bowl. Measure 1 cup of salsa and add bread crumbs. Blend thoroughly. Press into 9 inch round pan. Spread 1/2 cup salsa over meat. Shred tortillas into thin ribbons and scatter over meat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 50-60 minutes until brown and crisp on top. Let cool 10 minutes. Place a small pile of lettuce, onions and tomatoes on each plate. Top with wedge of meatloaf, salsa and scoop of sour-cream.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chocolate and more chocolate..


The good life!

Chocolate goodness
My helper testing the melted
chocolate.
This week for TWD Claudia of Fool For Food http://www.foolforfood.de/index.php chose Chocolate Chunkers. These were a very chocolate filled cookie. I halved the recipe and froze the dough until next week. I am on my taper for the marathon http://www.usafmarathon.com/ this week and am avoiding extra sugar and sweets.
This is dough is mainly melted chocolate, chocolate chips, more chocolate and nuts. My daughter helped me make them. We added the peanuts, skor chips and melted dagoba dark chocolate. I omitted the raisins in the cookie. After Anna tried the batter she decided there was too much chocolate in them. My kids must take after there Dad because I have never tasted anything with too much chocolate before. I can't wait until next week to try these cookies.
We had severe wind storms on Sunday and the schools have been without power for the week. That means no school for the kiddos. I am hoping that life will be back to normal in the morning.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Comfort Food




This week as part of our Barefoot Bloggers, Heather from Randomosity and the Girl chose Grown Up Mac and Cheese. This was a great comfort food recipe for us. I chose not to use the blue cheese but substituted dubliner Irish cheese instead along with some grated cheddar and Parmesan. I loved the combination of cheese in the recipe. I would like to try it with blue cheese at some point but have to wait until I have someone around that would eat it with me : ) My husband and daughter loved it. Our son wouldn't even try a bite since it didn't come out of the blue box. I have been trying to use more whole grain in our diet so I also used whole wheat Penney pasta instead of the macaroni noodles. The only problem with the switch was the pasta sucked up all of the sauce and it ended up being a little on the dry side. I loved the crumb topping. It was my favorite part of the dish. I will be making this again! Thanks for choosing a great recipe Heather.
Ina Garten courtesy of Food Network.com
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Provence



Hill-top town
Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is — called the "Venice of Provence" The river runs through the town in Provence.

We went to an open air market to shop!
Market days are huge here selling everything
from food to linens. It was very fun seeing what
people were selling. I wanted to buy a little of
everything. We did buy stuff for a picnic at the park.
My favorite treat was Creme Brulee from a bakery.
CREME BRULEE
1 pt. heavy cream6 egg yolks1/2 c. sugarPinch of salt2 tsp. vanillaLight brown sugar (granulated)
Heat heavy cream (the heaviest you can get) to the boiling point. Lightly beat egg yolks with sugar and a pinch of salt; pour the hot cream over them, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula or wire whisk until well blended. Add vanilla or a little mace or any other flavoring you desire. Strain the custard into a 1 1/2 quart heat-proof baking dish; stand the dish in a pan of warm water and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard is completely set but not over cooked. Do not let the water in the pan boil. Remove from the oven; cool and then chill in the refrigerator.
About 1 1/2 to 2 hours before serving, sprinkle the top evenly with fine light brown granulated sugar to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Put under the broiler (or use a salamander, if you have one) until the sugar is melted and bubbly, watching carefully to see it does not scorch and burn. Remove, cool, and chill again until serving time. You'll have a hard, highly glazed crust on top of the custard. This will serve about 6. If you have more guests, double the recipe, using 12 egg yolks to a quart of cream.

Bins and bins of olives!

What a huge display of homemade
goods! I have never tasted so many
jams and jelly's before.
I came across these pictures from our trip to Provence in April. We had such a great time touring the region and sampling Delicious foods. We tried Foie Gras for the first time and also enjoyed some wonderful stinky cheeses : -)
Fourme d'Ambert: A classic favorite within France and beyond, this creamy cheese has a big flavor without being excessively salty. A perfect partner for crisp fruit!
Buche de Chevre: No French assortment would be complete without a representation of France's centuries-long tradition of aged goat's milk cheeses. And what better cheese than the flavorful Buche de Chevre!
Abondance: Highly aromatic, Abondance is a washed-rind cheese that melts wonderfully and tastes heavenly. Fruity, nutty, and creamy; you won't mind the smell after a single taste! (8 oz)
Camembert: Hailing from Normandy, camembert is a creamy cheese ripened under a layer of downy white mold.
Mousse Truffee: A smooth, silken pate; this mousse is enhanced with the earthy, inimitable flavor of black truffles.
Saucisson a l'Ail: A smooth, soft pork sausage made by the Trois Petit Cochons and a generous addition of garlic and white wine.
Crusty French bread: The perfect accompaniment to all of these creamy cheeses.
In France, chefs are as famous as great athletes. Local caf├ęs, cuisine, and wines were the highlights of our French adventure. We sampled foods that we normally would not have tried. We loved the hilltop town of Roussillon. It is car free and we hiked the hill to the top. We strolled darling streets and found a tea shop to enjoy a cup of tea and relaxed while watching the sunset. I came across the best cookies from one of the vendors at the market. They were made with almond paste and melted in your mouth. I paid almost 10$ with the conversion for a handful of cookies. I think they were worth it!
ALMOND PASTE COOKIES
1/2 lb. very soft butter1 c. sugar1 c. grated almond paste1 egg, beaten1 1/2 c. flour1/2 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. baking sodaPinch of salt
Cream butter and sugar well. Add remaining ingredients. Form batter into small balls, press down with floured fork on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes at 350 degrees.













Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cookies











This was a baking day for me. Stephany at Proceed with Caution chose the recipe for our baking group TWD. We made yummy Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters. This was a simple cookie batter with lots of opportunities to add your own favorites. I love having my Kitchen Aide back to mix up quick batches of cookies. I don't know how I lived without it for 3 years. The only change I made was by decreasing the amount of cinnamon that went into these. Instead of 2 tsp, I added 1. I also added raisins because my kids love chocolate covered raisins. These are a hearty cookie that will travel well in the lunch box. I did end up freezing part of the dough for a second batch of cookies at a later date. They always taste best straight out of the oven with a tall glass of milk. The kids helped me sample these and we all decided this is a great recipe that we will be making again.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Butterflied Chicken








I am a little late in posting my Barefoot Bloggers recipe for Butterflied Chicken.
Thank you so much to Stefany over at Proceed with Caution, this was a great end of summer pick! The recipe can also be found at foodnetwork.com.
Butterflied Chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 2 sprigs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 roasting chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), deboned and butterflied (I used 4 large boneless skinless breasts)
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.
Place the chickens on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens.
Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.
I have never deboned a chicken before and was a little scared. I received new Henckel knives for Mothers Day and they are sharp! I tried to follow the directions but it doesn't look nearly as pretty Ina's! I made the paste in my food processor and omitted the rosemary since my husband can't stand it. I substituted basil instead of rosemary. We will be having this for dinner tonight with some couscous with saffron and chives that I got from an Amish market this weekend. It tastes so good! I loved how the chicken turned out.
We had such a great Labour Day weekend. I had to do a long run this weekend so the kids and hubby joined me. They rode there bikes and my hubby ran along with me on an amazing bike trail. It was 8 miles to the next town Xenia ( the biking capital of Oh) and then back to our car. I had to do 19 so I added a few miles on during there break. We stopped and bought them pancakes for there hard work! My husband has never ran that far before and I was very impressed with his endurance. I think he needs to join me in my race in 3 weeks.
On Monday we drove to Southern Oh and visited an Amish community. It was such a pretty area. We bought some amazing things from the farmers market. They had beautiful furniture that is all handmade. There bakery offered lots of wonderful baked treats including pumpkin rolls and cinnamon buns with lots and lots of cream cheese frosting : ) We tried there Italian Cream Cake and fresh doughnuts. There were so good! http://www.ohiotraveler.com/ohio_amish_stores.htm#bakery








The Year of Trying Something New.

This past year has been a year of change. We moved from a huge running community to an area that does not have the biking and running trails...