Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pictures from the weekend

First, look how Baxter has grown in 3 months!!
The photo on the left was taken February 20; the right on November 28.

Trapper waiting in front of the door for Adam to get back from his run on Saturday.

Poppa holding his big baby.

Me and the boys enjoying the snow.

A big event this weekend was Baxter's trip to the groomer...

Before getting his hair done...

... and after! Love the shamrock bandana!

Baxter doing his polar bear walk.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bulgur & Roasted Vegetable Salad

This week I got my first issue of the Food & Wine magazine. In bold lettering on the cover, I was happy to read 40 Healthy Recipes. After weeks of Adam and I talking about eating better, this issue gave me a kindly nudge to get started. Last night I made Bulgur Salad with Lightly Roasted Vegetables.
I bought the bulgur at The Healthy Grocery in Camp Hill. I know most health food stores have it in their bulk section, as does Wegmans.
Also, whole grains, like bulgur, are on my 20 Health Foods list - a list I sadly haven't blogged about in awhile but will get better.
Here's how it goes, as adpted from Food & Wine:
2 cups coarse ground bulgur, rinsed
2 cups hot water
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
Sea salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 medium cucumber - peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Crush red pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cover the bulgur with hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand until the water has been absorbed and the bulgur is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the zucchini, carrot and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for 12 - 15 minutes. Stir half way through.

Fluff the bulgur with a fork. Stir in the tomato paste. Fold in the roasted vegetables, lemon juice, cucumber and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

I think I would like it warm but it was room temperature when we ate it. Later today I will eat it chilled.

Now I'm once again hooked on bulgur! I just got done eating Bulgur Breakfast Porridge. I just found a recipe for Green Lentil and Bulgur Soup I may try soon too!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sweet Valentines

Rebecca and Jesse came over on Saturday night to watch the Olympics with Adam and I. They came bearing Valentines cookies and a sweet Valentine to Baxter from her kitty, Izzie (Bax and Izz have a love-hate relationship - it stems from the first time they met...).

Bec made lovely, huge heart shaped cookies from my recipe.

They were a perfect treat! Thank you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I made these during the snow storm last week. They turned out very well, which in my book means they didn't get too hard nor did they flatten out. These are a good anytime treat but I warn you, they are had to stop eating. Give them away as gifts!

This recipe is from the Baker's Chocolate Classic Recipes.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 squares (4 ounces) Bakers Chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chunks or chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional but I used)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in melted chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks and nuts. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 11-12 minutes or until cookies feel set to the touch. Remove cookies from sheet onto wire cooling racks.

I like to have large chunks of nuts in my cookies!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Roses On My Desk??

Look what that sweet boyfriend of mine sent me today for
Valentine's Day:

What a great surprise at work!

Thank you, Adam! ;)

... I'm just so exited... I've never gotten flowers from anyone other than my parents and Rebecca...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cappuccino Cinnamon Cake

A sweet treat for those who love cake, chocolate, coffee and cinnamon! Make sure you don't overbake the cake or it will get crunchy around the edges.
This delicious little cake recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker - a great baking site that I am coming to love!

For the Cake:

1¼ cups plus
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup whole milk
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or ½ cup mini chocolate chips

For the Frosting:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.

Stir 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 2½ teaspoons of the cinnamon and 1½ teaspoons of the espresso powder together in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1¼ cups sugar, the baking powder, salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of the espresso powder into the milk and warm the milk in a microwave until it is hot enough to dissolve the coffee. Cool the milk. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and gently whisk until you have a homogeneous batter.
Now, using the whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in the butter with a light touch, just until the butter is absorbed. You’ll have a smooth, satiny batter.
The melted butter.

After the butter is added.

Scrape half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and dust with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top again.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan; a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack. Peel off the paper, invert it onto the first rack, and cool to room temperature right side up.

To make the frosting, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and fit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring gently and often, just until they melt. Be careful not to overheat the mixture so much that it things out; the chocolate should be smooth, very shiny, thick and spreadable. 9If it thins, leave the frosting at room temperature for a bit, until it thickens a little.)

Using an offset metal icing spatula or a table knife, spread the frosting in generous sweeps and swirls over the top of the cake. Allow the frosting to set at room temperature, then cut the cake into 9 squares, each about 2½ inches on a side. Wrapped in plastic, the cake will keep at room temperature for 2 days.

The chocolate topping here is only 1/2 of what it's supposed to be. I only had 3 oz of chocolate left for the frosting. 6 oz - what's called for - would have been heavenly!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day Breakfast

As the snow falls outside, our puppy woke us up early this morning, begging to play. After a short romp in the snow, we went inside to make blueberry pancakes and hot cocoa.

The pancakes were simply made from Bisquick, which is admittingly, my favorite way to make pancakes. I've tried lots of homemade recipes but Bisquick pancakes always turn out the best!

For the cocoa, I searched for a recipe and came across Drew's World Famous Triple Rush Hot Chocolate. What I made was adapted from Drew:

2 cups 2% milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons instant coffee granuales
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 dashes chili powder
1/2 cup heavy cream - you could add more milk to thin it out, but I had heavy cream to use and Adam would get mad if I'd use all the milk :)

In a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate chips in the milk over medium heat, stirring very frequently. Once all the chips are melted, reduce to low heat and add the coffee, cinnamon and chili powder. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in heavy cream. You should drink this right away but if you have leftovers, you'll have to reheat and whisk it well before enjoying for the second time (I'll be doing this later today!).

This is very rich cocoa but all the flavors happening in the little cup are to die for!!

The chocolate chips melting in the milk for the cocoa.

On a different note, I am in love with Script's song, Breakeven. Give it a listen.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

I get the Brown Eyed Baker newsletter by email and all of her goodies look so tasty! I've been wanting to try these chocolate chip scones for awhile becuase I've had all the ingredients except the heavy cream but due to grocery store shortages and my distraction with other projects, Adam finally just went and found me the cream last night. And thank goodness because these have been a special treat this morning. I love that they are so easy to make and not overly sweet.

Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Yield: 24 scones
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-oz) package dark chocolate chips - I used Hershey's Special Dark chips
2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Additional sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

Stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.

Stir whipping cream into flour mixture, stirring just until ingredients are moistened.

Turn mixture out onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently until soft dough forms (about 2 minutes). Divide dough into three equal balls. One ball at a time, flatten into 7-inch circle; cut into 8 triangles. Transfer triangles to prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with additional sugar.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar, if desired.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My new favorite lunchtime treat

Mary introduced me to the new Jell-O Mousse Tempations and I lovvvve them! She brought me the Dark Chocolate Decadence to try one day and it was good but over the weekend I bought the Chocolate Indulgence and it's even better! These are perfect lunchtime snacks, especially at 60 calories each. I highly recommend them if you pack your lunch (or someone else's) everday. The Mousse also comes in Caramel. They're sold in a pack of six for about $3.00 (mine cost $2.69 at Giant).

Keep in mind I am not a huge fan of pre prepared puddings and mousses like this, but this product is suprisingly tasty - almost like the real mousse containing tons of eggs, chocolate, butter and sugar! Speaking of, this has inspired me to make some real mousse. I've been wanting to try this for quite sometime now. I will let you know when I make the real thing, but for now, this is a good subsitute!

If you notice the time stamp, I am eating one right now for lunch. It's so good, it inspired me to share with you all!

Beef Enchiladas

Sunday night I made some wonderful enchiladas for dinner. I was so excited to take pictures of the steps, a la The Pioneer Woman whose recipe I was using but, lo and behold, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product! I was so anxious to get the dish on the table and dig in and at that point, somehow, I completely forget about taking pictures. I was only think about filling my tummy and the hungry tummies waiting.

I cannot tell you how many times this has happened. I will continue to try to remember the photos.

Anyway, as I said, the enchiladas I made are from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook that Rebecca gave me for my birthday. The same recipe is found here. I followed the receipe exactly as written and this meal was soooooo good!

I used ground buffalo meat which was a special treat (it's what we had). And I was a tad nervous about frying the tortillas but it turned out fine. Just make sure they don't get crispy or you won't be able to roll them. Also, make sure you get the small tortillas. The larger ones work too (that's what I did) but I think it looks better with the smaller ones.

A very charming book. I recommend it as a gift for any and all food lovers.

The beautifully browned meat with onions and green chiles.

The enchilada sauce simmering.

My wonderful cheese shredder did an excellent job here :)

And that's where the pictures stop. But believe me, the finished product looked just like the photos here. Give them a try!