Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Good Kind of Oatmeal

Jake and I have found that we love Trader Joe's oatmeal. Actually we love any oatmeal that is multi-grain (why we still call it oatmeal I don't know) and it can't be cooked to mush. We love our oatmeal flaky.

Here is a rendition where we included Crasins, Sultanas, Raisins, & Nuts. We usually use just a dab of honey to sweeten.

Caught It!!

Helen had this cute smile she would do every now and then. I tried for days to capture it on the camera, but she would always turn her head, reach for the camera, or change her expression. I finally caught it on camera. And ever so glad that I did because she hasn't done in a week or more. It probably really wasn't a smile, just her way of learning to deal with her incredibly sharp bottom teeth. I would imagine those two little things could hurt her upper gums, they have definitely hurt my fingers.



GOT IT!!



Keep Reading into Older Posts

If you are reading this to catch up on all the updated posts that I finally posted you need to continue on past the Mexican Chocolate Bread - I posted some with earlier dates so keep things organized in my mind.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mexican Chocolate Bread

Last month Robin got me thinking about spicy chocolate. While trying to decide what to make for a ward function, I came across this recipe in a new bread cookbook that I have. It was really good. I altered the recipe slightly for what I had on hand. If you have a bread maker it is worth a try!

Here is the one I did:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
2 large eggs

3 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup Crasins, boiled ahead to make soft
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp dry active yeast

Here is the original from the book:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
1 large egg plus 1 yolk at room temperature
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups bread flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

5 tsp gluten
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp dried orange peel
2 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

2 tsp dry active yeast

  1. Place the ingredients in the bread machine according to manufacture’s instructions. Set Crust on light, program for Sweet Bread, and press Start. My machine only has a light setting; I can’t program for sweet breads.

  1. After the baking cycle ends, remove bread immediately from the machine to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before slicing (highly important – I found that out).

Mexican Chocolate Bread

Last month Robin got me thinking about spicy chocolate. While trying to decide what to make for a ward function, I came across this recipe in a new bread cookbook that I have. It was really good. I altered the recipe slightly for what I had on hand. If you have a bread maker it is worth a try!

Here is the one I did:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
2 large eggs

3 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup Crasins, boiled ahead to make soft
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp dry active yeast

Here is the original from the book:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
1 large egg plus 1 yolk at room temperature
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups bread flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

5 tsp gluten
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp dried orange peel
2 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

2 tsp dry active yeast

  1. Place the ingredients in the bread machine according to manufacture’s instructions. Set Crust on light, program for Sweet Bread, and press Start. My machine only has a light setting; I can’t program for sweet breads.

  1. After the baking cycle ends, remove bread immediately from the machine to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before slicing (highly important – I found that out).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pie Apples for Thanksgiving

The coloring of these apples was gorgeous . After they were peeled they had swirls of color still through the flesh.

Friday, December 21, 2007

French Bread with a Christmas Twist

Here is the Candy Cane French Bread I made:



I love my French Bread Recipe:

1 ¼ cup warm water

1 Tablespoon yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon shortening, melted

1 ½ teaspoons salt

3 ½ cups flour

1 beaten egg

Pour water into large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Stir in sugar, shortening, and salt. Add flour 1 cup at a time. Knead until smooth (5 minutes). Rise double (60 minutes). Shape into long loaf. Rise double again. Make slash marks on top of loaf and wash with egg. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden. Should sound hollow when tapped.

I just added food coloring to half of the dough and twisted it for Christmas fun!

Pumpkin Soup


I made this pumpkin soup just after Halloween. It was delicious. In New Zealand they serve pumpkin soup all the time. Most Kiwis would gag when I would mention that for the most part pumpkin is only used in the US for sweet dishes like pies and cookies. Pumpkin is a savory item in New Zealand. We should embrace this side of pumpkin more in the United States. It really is wonderful for the taste. I'm sure any type of squash would work, but join with me and love the new side of pumpkins!
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 750 grams pumpkin, peeled and chopped (I just used 1½ cans of 100% canned pumpkin because I was in a rush that night)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups liquid chicken stock
  • salt
  • black pepper (I used white pepper)
  • nutmeg
  • ham hock or bacon bones (optional)
  • grated parmesan cheese and ground fresh pepper for garnish

Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add pumpkin (I didn't add the pumpkin until later), potato, and stock.

Cover, and bring to the boil and cook until vegetables are soft. I added the pumpkin once the potatoes were soft - just long enough beforehand that the pumpkin could warm up before blending.

Purée vegetable mixture in a blender or push through a sieve. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. For extra flavor, a ham hock or bacon bones can be added when cooking the pumpkin. I used just some bits of ham that I broke off my frozen ham bone and put them in when I cooked the potato- I couldn't bear using the whole ham bone. I took the biggest pieces out before I blended the mixture and left them out and the flavor was perfect.

Serves 6.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wait Wait...

This is yet another reason why I love listening to Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me, the NPR News Quiz show. This past Saturday's episode was hilarious. One of the jokes was about the above picture and story. Last time I checked ham would be considered one of the most non-kosher foods. (I am seriously chuckling out load about this at the moment). Really, if you are in a neighborhood where there is a large enough Jewish population to advertise items for Chanukah, I would think the store would know what items are forbidden on the Jewish menu. Like Jake said, that is like advertising beer to make a great General Conference Weekend BBQ. Hahahahehe!

Friday, December 7, 2007

THE Sushi Cake

So it has taken me over a month to get this post ready. I was working on a mosaic of pictures to show my pride and joy of October. Jake was kind and helped me through the whole mosaic. Jake and I found a love for sushi while living in Monterey. Each year I try to make a different cake for Jake, and I have always wanted to try my hand at candy sushi. So I incorporated the two. I have included pictures of the real thing so you have a comparison, which I am sure you can tell which ones aren't from my cake. Both Jake and his brother upon entering our apartment thought it was the real thing (probably the dim lighting). Anyway I now share this joy with you all. My favorite is probably how the tamago turned out.

Amidst pictures of the complete finished cake and real sushi there are pictures of





















  • my prep work
  • the cake similar to the block of wood
  • tamago
  • nigiri
  • unagi
  • wasabi & pickled ginger
  • ikura
  • masago
  • maki sushi
...sushi anyone?!?


8 Nov 2009 UPDATE:
Okay...Here goes a description of how I made everything...to the best of my memory:

Ingredients:
  • yellow cake batter from scratch or box
  • baking cocoa
  • rice krispies (and butter and marshmallows to make according to box directions for rice krispie treats)
  • fruit leather (I used grape, green apple, and raspberry flavors but grape looked the best)
  • yellow marshmallows (got about 10 from a package of mini colored ones, could also use white and some yellow food coloring)
  • Swedish fish candies (red, orange, and yellow colors)
  • caramel sauce
  • milk caramels
  • icing
  • green food coloring
  • pink Air Head candy
  • Orange Heads candy
  • orange nonpareils
  • gummy worms
  • some kind of green strip candy that can be cut to look like grass

The cake was just a basic yellow cake, but I reserved part of the batter and added baking cocoa which I then made stripes with one the cake and drew a butter knife through to make it look like a wood block before I baked it.

The rest of the process has to go really fast before the rice krispie treats set up so it is best to be prepared and have all the candy out, the icing ready, the fruit leather cut into strips (there were 3 appropriate widths) and if the candy needs rolled out have that done too. Leave the wasabi. the pickled ginger, and the grass until last as they don't require rice krispie treats. It is also nice to have a second pair of hands to help. My SIL was wonderful to help me.

Make a batch of rice krispie treats. They need to be hot to mold them so as soon as you can stand the temperature with your hand, get shaping.

tamago - (loved how this one turned out) I melted a few yellow marshmellows in a bowl in microwave for probably 10 seconds, then shaped it into a square as best as I could on a cutting board. Placed the cooled marshmallow on top of rice krispie treat and finished with a strip of fruit leather

nigiri - This is a small amount of rice krispie treat molded to the size of a bite of sushi, then I placed a Swedish fish on top and wrapped a strip of fruit leather around it. To get the leather to stick, barely wet it with a finger dipped in water and press together.

unagi - this is a rice krispie treat with caramel sauce drizzled on then a rolled out caramel placed on top

wasabi & pickled ginger - the wasabi is icing colored green and the pickled ginger is a pink Air Head heated in microwave for a couple of seconds and rolled out with a rolling pin and then made into little bunches

ikura - again rice krispie treat base, then wrapped in fruit leather (grape flavor works well), then icing to hold in the Orange Heads candy

masago - same as the ikura, but used orange nonpareils (found at a kitchen/baking store that sold little bags of individual colors)

maki sushi - put 3 or 4 gummy worms together (I tried to use colors that you would see together in real sushi for instance green and orange for cucumber and carrot) and wrapped hot rice krispie treats around them. Then sliced the rolls into 2 or 3 pieces. Then I placed one of the pre-cut srtips of fruit leather around each roll.

decorative grass - these were some kind of sour candy strips that I cut on a zig zag to create a grass look.

Then I placed the candy "sushi" on the cake to look like a sushi presentation.
Hope this inspires you!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cheesey Hot Cereal - Not Bad, Not Bad at All

When I was in New Zealand I would often see parents give their children a hot cereal similar to Cream of Wheat for breakfast, but rather than putting sugar on it as many Americans do, they would put a slice of processed cheese. I could never bring myself to do this. It may have been the different flavors of cheese that I was still getting use to or the lone fact that it was processed cheese slices. Note pictures at left for examples of the different flavors, and yes the flavor of the bottom one is "tasty"and I still am not sure what that means. Kiwis find our colored cheese as different too - so I guess we are even. I have heard of putting cheese in grits, but as I am really not deeply knowledgeable about southern foods, I can not say much about this.

I typically like savory breakfasts more than sweet ones. Don't get me wrong I love pancakes and syrup occasionally and a good bowl of sweetened rice Chex or Cheerios now and then, but for the most part I'd choose eggs & toast or a breakfast burrito. This post comes to be because this morning I awoke to new snow and it made me feel like some hot cereal. However, I did not feel like sweet anything, and I did not want to eat plain oatmeal. So I pulled out the Cream of Wheat and a slice of provolone cheese. I still don't buy processed cheese. Real cheese has such better flavor and is not plastic like. I made the Cream of Wheat according to box directions and then placed the provolone on top to melt a little. It was really good! Definitely will have this again on cold mornings when I want something a little different.

Mission Organize Apartment