Sunday, December 19, 2010

Arizona favorites, visited in November

While in Arizona in November for Farfar's birthday I got the chance to enjoy one of my favorite childhood treats. Of course, as a kid I ate it covered in powdered sugar and honey.

Indian fry bread. YUM.

Last time I was home we got to try a new place my mom had read about in a magazine, called Cafe Laguna. That trip we actually went to both locations (2235 S. Power Rd,
Mesa AZ. and 11518 E Apache Trl Apache Junction, AZ) because the first one was closed that day. They are about 45 minutes apart, if I remember right. This time we got lucky and caught them about 20 minutes before closing time and got our food to go.



The menu board has helpful pictures, so you get the gist of what you are ordering.

They, too, honor the Arizona shredded beef tradition. However, I opted for the ground on this particular visit.

The first time we tried to track down fry bread on one of my trips home, we went to an art fair. That was where I always got them as a kid. Prescott, when my Farmor and Farfar lived, always had these great art fairs with tons of booths. And to feed all of those hungry art goers, there were tons of food booths. Basic fair fare, typically... lemonade, hot dogs, kettle corn, etc. But also fry bread.
So my mom found an art fair in Scottsdale, and off we went. It was beautiful, and we both bought a couple small things. And there was fry bread, sort of...
...but it was covered in nacho cheese, and had no extras (tomato, lettuce, etc).

And my mom dropped her camera in hers, trying to document the occasion. XD

Silly Mommy.

Every time I visit home, I have to go to Manuel's for my Mexican food fix. This time we went straight from the airport... I hadn't even been to the house yet!
Usually, I order al a carte. However, they now have daily specials, and as it was Tuesday, it was cheaper for us to each get a combo and have leftovers for lunch.

To start:
A cheese crisp, done right. Open faced and crunchy, the perfect quesadilla.

Pardon my post flight tired look...

My mommy!

You'll notice I'm a beans, and she's a rice. We both had to modify our orders. XD

My main course:
A shredded beef taco, cheese enchilada, and beans. I took the enchilada home... that's a ton of food!


Not the prettiest view...
Shredded beef tacos are definitely an Arizona thing. They simmer the beef until it just falls apart. Makes it moist and yummy! My mom grew up with ground beef Mexican food (New Mexico). Each region has distinctly different styles. That's why I don't usually bother trying Mexican food in New England!

And my mom's plate:

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I have been dying to share my big news with you all!! I have had a ton of excitement.

My dad was in town for most of a week.
I had something like 5 interviews while my dad was here. It rained and poured interviews the first few days of November!! I had 4 total since last Thursday!!
I flew home to see my Farfar for his 90th birthday. I was so blessed to get to fly home and share it with him.
The job I wanted the most (and had a second interview with, the morning I flew to AZ!) said they would call Tuesday night (the day I flew). So I spent the whole flight expecting a voicemail on the other side! YIKES. Let me tell you guys, this airplane ride was the longest since the one to visit Brian in Hawaii when I only got to see him every six months. What a miracle… God sure does work in mysterious ways. All those interviews right before my trip, but late enough that I didn't have an offer yet and I still got to go still! Amazing.

SO! I didn't find out until Sunday evening... but they offered me the job!! I wanted to wait until after I signed paperwork, but everything wound up moving so fast that I wound up completing my first week before I've had a chance to sit down and post this!!

So in case you're skimming at this point, since I've babbled a lot and there are no pictures in sight...

I got a job!!!!! I'm teaching 8th grade math, and have three levels of classes, 5 periods total. My kids are awesome, and I am having a blast. It is exactly what I've been wanting.

I've been planning my celebratory "I HAVE A CLASSROOM!!!!!!" meal since… well, its been at least a year and a half, probably more like two years. I went to this restaurant during restaurant week back in college with a friend and it was one of the best meals I've ever had. You'll have to forgive the gaps in remembering… this was several years ago. I will review the place again after a more current visit! (Hopefully in the next two weeks...)

The Wine Cellar
Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA

The waiter was very versed in the expensive wine list that entitles the place to its boastful name. We were quite new to wine at the time, and leaned heavily on his recommendations. My friend had recently discovered that she liked Reislings, but we decided that wouldn't go with the food. Instead we selected a Cabernet Savingion. I would have no hope of telling you the vineyard or… well, anything specific about it, but it worked very well with the dishes. We nursed the one bottle through the whole meal and giggled all the way home.

First Course: We split their cheese fondue starter. It is a two person minimum, but we had agreed in advance. :) It was served with bread for dipping. I will visit the website and report on the cheeses more specifically, but this was the kind of dish you wanted to curl up inside of. YUM. I mean you really can't go wrong with melted cheese (unless its American, eww).

Second Course: I had the fondue main course as well. This was a broth served with meat, which you let sit in the hot broth to cook it. I had never seen such a thing! I was in love. My friend had something non-fondue, but I have no idea what.

Third Course: Chocolate Fondue. I think we had dark chocolate with Grand Marnier mixed in. They serve it with cookies and fruit and pound cake and marshmallows to dip in it. I'm pretty sure we licked the thing clean.

So when Brian and I started planning for our grand somedays I went to the website to see if it was something we could afford to do as a non-restaurant week date. We can… but only as a special occasion. So I declared when I got my job I would go to The Wine Cellar with Brian. That day may finally be just a week and change away!! They have a fondue based dinner for two that looked very appealing… I hope there is still something like that.

I have tried on a couple of occasions to make an acceptable fondue on my own at home. I do have an actual fondue set now (…in the basement, I think) so I will share some of my attempts. And future successes. ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chocolate Mug Cake

You ever have one of those days where you have less than no time, but really just want a piece of chocolate? Better, a piece of chocolate cake? This is that chocolate cake. It will never win an award for beauty and its not the best tasting cake you'll ever eat, but it is fast. How fast, you ask? 5 minutes.

3 minute Chocolate Mug Cake
from an email chain

1 coffee mug
4 tbsp flour (plain, not self rising)
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp chocolate chips (optional) mini chips would be the best
small splash of vanilla

Add the dry ingredients to the mug and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla and mix again.

Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. Eat! This can serve 2 if you want to share.

Tips: Don't add extra time if it looks moist or shiny. It will overcook and be super chewy.
This is great for using the last dribble of frosting out of the can in the fridge, or you can make a simple powdered sugar mix to smear on. Chocolate or carmel sundae sauce works nicely too. :)

This is NOT a pretty cake!! You could probably cut it in half and frost a quick two layer thing out of it, but you were looking for quick, right?? So just don't look at it real hard and enjoy.

Spinning in the microwave... Look at it rise...

It really does cook up over the edge of the mug.

Leaning on the plate.
Yes, its propped up with a toothpick.

The frosting is pink from a birthday cake's leftovers. XD
It looked better on the birthday cake, I promise.

This was definitely the type of weekend where I only had 5 minutes! We moved Brian in to my apartment, and cleaned everything. It looks fantastic, I'm very proud. :) I did resist the siren call of the chocolate mug cake this week though, these are pictures from last time. I'm looking forward to apple pies this week. ;)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I boast some pretty awesome recipes. Some I've made up. Some I've HEAVILY modified. And some I follow to the letter. Some I can easily credit to the original owner, and some it is a complete mystery as to where they came from. I suspect your recipe box/bin/book is similar.

My Farmor (Father's Mother, in Danish) has left many mysteries, since she rarely wrote down recipes and did everything "to taste" or "until it looks right". A lot of pinches and smidges on her cards. (My style is starting to make sense, I suspect.) You'll hear a lot about her on here, she's quite an inspiration.

My snickerdoodle recipe is one such mystery. My recipe card was carefully transcribed from one in my mom's files. However, she swears its my recipe... she doesn't make them.

One thing we do agree on though; these are the best damn snickerdoodles in the world. I don't bother buying them anywhere... they are never as good. I've had friends make snickerdoodles for me that are just ok. I had a friend in high school that claimed hers were better... we actually planned a bake off and blind taste test. I don't remember executing it... I'm betting it never happened. Surely I would remember proving her wrong. (Or right, that might have required therapy.)


from ???

1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teasp cream of tarter
1 teasp baking soda
1/4 teasp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 teasp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Mix butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and the eggs. Blend in flour, cream of tarter, soda and salt. Shape the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls. (Try to make them the size of small walnuts.) Mix the 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll the balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture and place them about 2 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. (Cookies puff up first, then flatten out.) Immediately remove the cookies from the baking sheet.

Yields: 6 dozen cookies

TIPS: Watch the cookies closely. I often remove them before they flatten again... I like mine on the softer side. If you like them crisp, let them set. Remove to a cooling rack or they will dry out and overcook on the bottom.
Enjoy warm or store once cooled in airtight containers. I can't tell you how long they last, because I've never had them around for more than a day or two!!
These are a great gift around the holidays. The cinnamon screams holiday baking, and if you manage to make them as small as the recipe says (I never do) they are the perfect size for parties or large families.

Events and Distractions

Life has been quite busy around here! I had that long gap between posts because of a series of unfortunate immune system events (low grade cold + week of insomnia = real cold and real case of the crabbies). I spent the time torturing myself with thoughts of what I wanted to cook and bake and looking up recipes and photos online and in my bedside stack of cooking magazines. Anyone else do that? Just me?

Now that the cold has passed I have a series of exciting events. Most immediately has been the project of completely cleaning out my room. This is dual purpose; Brian, my boyfriend of almost three years, is moving into my apartment AND my dad is visiting from Germany. We're renting a moving van this weekend, my dad arrives early next week. Am I crazy? Maybe a little. Luckily Brian doesn't have a ton of stuff (do guys usually?) and most of it has been coming by car load over the last two weeks. We drove his dresser over on the top of his compact car this week... I wish I'd taken a picture of that!! So the clothes are getting unpacked into the dresser and closet as they arrive, and stuff for storage is going to the basement on an ongoing basis. Just have to get the rest of my clutter out of the way! I'm really excited to see the final transformation... and to finally be able to say my boyfriend lives with me! About time! :D

Also exciting; my roommate has adopted two kittens from a friend. They are adorable and completely distracting. I have the smaller one curled up next to me while I write this. The kittens adore my room because it doesn't smell like my roommates first cat. The result so far is that they seem to think I'm also "mom". Not that I'm complaining... I love the little things. Total sweethearts!

Meet Empress:
She's not the most photogenic cat I've ever met, but she was very nervous. It was her first day. I'm sure there will be better ones in the future.
Her undercoat is positively ORANGE in direct sunlight. Beautiful. She's about 2 years old, I believe.

Meet Auryn:
She's only about 6 months old, and still very kitten. Big ears, very playful. I've got ten minutes of video of her attacking my freshly washed duvet cover from once it was back on the bed last night.
Of course like all kittens, she's asleep on it five minutes later. XD This was actually day 2, Sunday morning. She came in, spent 15 minutes exploring the room, and the did the sleepy Sunday morning kitten thing for me. <3

Yes, they are both named for the Neverending Story. XD

So! I've got back posts to catch up on. And a bunch of cooking coming up with my dad in town! I suspect he will want to eat in more than out. This is where you come in!! What are your favorite meals to cook for visiting family?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vegetable Drawer Soup and Chicken Pot Pie

Since I roasted that chicken, I had a ton of leftovers to use up! Its actually one of my favorite things about that recipe. I even buy chickens a little bit big on purpose. :)

Some of my favorite meals use up chicken leftovers... or turkey. These are both great recipes for holiday leftovers too. ;)

The first one was one my mom made when I was little. It always seemed like a perfect meal in one dish to me. Plus, you can use your favorite vegetables or whatever you have on hand.

Chicken Pot Pie
idea from mom, execution modified by me

2 cups (approx) cooked chicken pieces
1 cup carrots, cut into pieces
1 cup brocolli
half a medium onion, chopped into small pieces
1 cup corn (if frozen: thaw in a bowl of warm water. fresh: cut off cob. canned: please don't!)
1/2 cup celery
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tbsp olive oil (or pam)
2 Pie crust pieces (I like Pillsbury) near room temp

Spray frying pan with pam, or heat tbsp olive oil in frying pan. Cook up the onions until beginning to become clear. Add soup and 1 can of water to the pan, bring to a simmer. Add remaining veggies and chicken. Let it simmer for a few minutes to heat everything while you prep the crust.
If you forgot to leave the pie crust on the counter for a little to bring the temperature up, stick it in the microwave for about 5 seconds. You just want it closer to room temp so its easy to roll out. You can also stick it on top of the oven while it preheats.
Roll the first crust out onto the bottom of your glass pie pan. Press it down into the bottom edges.
Pour the chicken mixture into the crust lined pan.
Roll the second crust out over the mixture. Press the two crusts together so nothing oozes out. Put four or five slits in the crust for steam to get out.
Bake for 25 minutes in a 350*F oven.
Put a pie shield or strips of tin foil over the crust edges and bake for 10 more minutes. Pie is done when crust is golden brown.

Let it stand for 10 minutes, or as long as you can stand! I cut in right away and it was a little messy. Pieces will serve prettier if you can wait. :)
Messy enough I needed a spoon to serve it!

The second one was named by my mom. We've done this one pretty regularly since weight watchers while I was in high school. Difference was they called it "Zero Point soup" and it didn't have chicken (or noodles, I think). Its extremely versatile and adds great variety! Just use whatever you have on hand! No noodles? Use rice! All measurements in this are APPROXIMATE. I don't measure!! I just dump things in until I like the color balance. Add more liquid than you think you need! It cooks down a lot!

Vegetable Drawer Soup
from my mom, originally

2 cups cooked chicken, torn or cut into bite size pieces (OR 2 chicken sausages, cut into slices and then halves)
3-5 cups sliced veggies: carrots, celery, green beans, peas, corn, brussel sprouts, peppers, asparagus, mushrooms... ANYTHING you want!
3 cups chicken broth (bouillon cubes work nicely, just read the label for appropriate water amounts)
2 cups egg noodles (or rice or cous cous)
2-3 bay leaves
a few dashes each of oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, whatever your favorite spice is, that you are feeling at the moment (I don't often do red pepper flakes, for instance.)
extra water, as necessary

Put a LARGE pot on the stove. Add broth (or water with bouillon) and start to warm. Add the thickest crunchiest veggies first; carrots and brussel sprouts especially. Add chicken, spices, and remaining veggies (except any that might get mushy... like I tend to add mushrooms or spinach with the egg noodles or rice for the last 20 minutes). Stir, add water or more broth if it looks off balance. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat and let simmer. Cover or you'll lose even more moisture! Let it simmer for at least 20-30 minutes. Feel free to taste it as it goes, there is nothing raw in it (chicken sausage is pre-cooked). After first 30 minutes, when flavors are mingling to your satisfaction, add egg noodles or rice and any remaining soft veggies. Cover, cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until noodles or rice are soft.

One of my favorite versions of this ever had italian chicken sausage, leftover cous cous/rice blend, spinach, and brussel sprouts. YUM.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Roast Chicken

Last night week I roasted a chicken. This is one of my favorite fall and winter meals, and the leftovers are spectacular. Like many meals, I tend to do this one when the meat is on sale, but sometimes I'm just craving it. This last week it was on sale and I realized it was finally heat-up-the-whole-house-using-the-oven season.

I first learned to roast chicken from a cookbook Brian's aunt gave me called "How to Cook Everything".
This recipe alone has made the gift a great purchase. I really enjoy the number of variations offered on the staple items like this.

The basics of this chicken, boiled down; Start heat high, baste a ton, turn the heat down once browning to cook the insides.


Roast Chicken
from How to Cook Everything

1 whole (3-4 pound) chicken, trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, or sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
chopped fresh herbs for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 500*F

2) Place the chicken breast, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Begin roasting. Mis together the olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.

3) After the chicken has roasted for about 20 minutes, spoon some of the olive oil mixture over it, then turn the bird breast side up. Baste again, then again after 7-8 minutes; at this point the breasts should be beginning to brown (if it hasn't, roast a few more minutes).
Turn down the heat to 325*F, baste again, and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160-165*F. Total roasting time will be under an hour.

4) Before removing the chicken from the pan, tip the pan to let the juices from the bird's cavity flow into the pan (if they are red, cook another 5 minutes). Remove the bird to a platter and let it rest for about 5 minutes. While it is resting, pour the pan juices into a clear measuring cup, and pour or spoon off as much of the fat as you can. Reheat the juice, carve the bird, garnish, and serve with the pan juices.


I made a simple gravy out of the juices this time, but my gravies need some work. :-/ I had way to much flour and it got really thick. I'll work on that one before I post tips. :p We had mashed potatoes though... if you don't, the juices are plenty with the chicken.

* If your bird is bigger, roast longer. (Simple, right?) I find my 5 pound birds go about an hour and 15-20, but I don't watch the clock super closely.
* Don't depend on the pop out timers. I've cooked this many times, and its far better if you trust the instant read thermometer. Sometimes the other is a little long and it dries out some.
*If you don't have a roasting pan, invest in a good one if at all possible. The teflon flaked off my first one right away, so I'm back in the market. :(
* When in doubt, baste baste baste!! It comes out super juicy and just a hint crunchy in the skin, and its really not much extra work. If you're like me you're already hiding in the kitchen near the warm oven or working on sides anyways. :)

Remember; Don't trust the pop up thermometers!! Good on turkeys, not with this recipe. Not for me, anyways.
And yes, my book always has at least that many post it tabs. Its full of awesomeness!!

PS: I am using the amazon associates feature. This means I get a small cut if you buy something I recommend. I am not in it for profit, I just find it convenient for mentioning products I love. I felt being upfront about its presence was important. Please don't feel that I expect anything.
That said, know that any small revenue made there will likely go to food or cooking tools! XD

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mini Pancake Bites and Apple Picking!

Yesterday was an exciting day for me, cooking wise. My new apron (by Boojiboo on etsy) arrived this week, so I got to wear it to make Mini Pancake Bites!

I've been looking forward to these since I first saw the
post on Bakerella
about a month back.

Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins
from Bakerella

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Sift together with a wire whisk.
In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter until just combined.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until combined.
Stir in chocolate chips. Reserve a few chips to sprinkle on the tops.
Bake for 8-9 minutes.
Makes 24 mini pancake muffins.

Let cool slightly and remove from the pan. You may need to use a toothpick around the edges to separate the pancake muffins from the pan.
Serve immediately with warmed butter if you like or even just with maple syrup.



Of course, I forgot to sprinkle chocolate chips on the first two pans. So they look a little more boring. Still taste great!!

Brian decided that he could fix the missin' chips issue.
Look, its happy to see you!

Fill the mini muffin cups about two thirds of the way. They're small, so its hard to be exact. I wound up with four extra minis, but I won't complain. ;)

After that excitement, we went apple picking!! SO there are apple recipes to look forward too!! Like my 5 star apple pie. And apple cobbler. And baked apples. And apple and cheese stuffed chicken. I am so excited!!!
It was however wicked hot for apple picking. It was forecast to be 83 degrees, so we were sweating. No shade, no breeze, definitely not your expected fall weather.

We did see some pretty awesome stuff though, despite the heat.

Pears! They were out of season already when I went last year. This was the first fruit picked of the day.

We stood in a pretty amazingly short line for apple cider donuts and carmel apples.

A teeny tiny apple that Beth picked.

The bunnies were really feeling the heat. Too hot to move! Though we did witness one sit on top of another... who was too hot to move. XD

I just love this dragonfly that Brian got some awesome shots of;

All in all? Some very happy apple pickers.

Joyfully yours,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why did the chicken cross the road?*

Brian made dinner Monday night, since I made breakfast and had a meeting until 7:30. So he did the shopping while I sat in committee, and was making dinner when I got home. He served me the most beautiful plate of grilled chicken, salad, and rice. I was so hungry. Usually I find grilled chicken dry and unappealing, but this chicken was beautiful!! I cut into it, expecting it to be raw in the middle because it was so tender. It was perfectly cooked through, and so moist!! I could not say enough good about it. I cautioned him that if he is so good at cooking soon he'll have to take over. After all, I've already put him in charge of red pasta sauce, bacon, and eggs. (I'm not saying I can't cook those... but he's really good at them, and let's encourage some division of cooking labor, am I right?)


This is about the point where he gets a sheepish look on his face. The corners of his lips pull up slightly. "What?", I demand. "I'm never going to be able to recreate it!" he declares.

And so the story of the chicken unfolds. This chicken started the afternoon frozen in a ziplock bag. He took it out, opened it up, and dumped in some marinade.
And then? He took it with him. To run errands.

Let me say that last part again.
He took the chicken with him to run errands.

Let me paint the picture further. This ziplock of chicken rode in his car - in the passenger seat - while he went to CVS for gel insoles, went to Trader Joe's for some spinach for the salad and a bunch of etc groceries, and I believe for a stop at his house. When he stopped at traffic lights, he would reach over and massage the chicken through the bag to rub in the oils and help defrost the middle more.
Luckily, he also gives me massages. I'd hate to be jealous of the chicken.

His methods are not conventional... but let me tell you this was probably the best piece of chicken I've ever eaten. I don't intend to write up a recipe card for it... but it was delicious!!

Till next time!

*Title inspired by my mom. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good Luck Pancakes!

Today my boyfriend, Brian, had a big job fair. Lots of handshaking and smiling, and that takes stamina! So I got up early to make him breakfast.

Whole Wheat Pancakes
from Cooking Light, December 2006

1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, butter, and egg; add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.

Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto a hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet. Cook 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over; cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.

Yeilds 4 servings, 3 pancakes per serving.
Calories: 293 (20% from fat)
Fat: 6.6g (sat 3.5g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.6g)
Protein: 10.9g
Carbohydrate: 47.8g
Fiber: 3.3g

Now. I made a couple of alterations. As always. For one, I messed up the baking powder... and have no idea how much was actually in these. See, I started measuring with a 1/2 tbsp before realizing I needed the 1/2 tsp. Oops. So I nipped it out and tried again, ish. I added vanilla. I added 1/3 cup chocolate chips, since B loves chocolate chip pancakes. I poured the first one on the hot pan and realized they were more the consistency of crepe batter; waaaaay runnier than I wanted. So I added another heaped 1/2 tbsp of each flour; white and whole wheat. They tasted good, but these were not fluffy pancakes. They didn't have the "OH YUM" moment. They did grow on you though... after 3 bites I was fairly sold on them. Quite tasty with maple syrup. (Note; I only use real maple... no maple flavored syrup. Yuk. Tastes like a bad diet to me... since that's when I used it.) However, if you are a fan of crepes these might be a match for you. They were like thick crepes. Next time I try them I'll top them instead of adding chunky ingredients, and maybe make them a little runnier so they spread extra in the pan. Something to try anyways.

Some tips in general for pancakes.
Low heat, long cook. This doesn't mean your gas burner is about to go out, but pancakes are not a speed cook thing.
Don't over flip. Its not as important as when grilling meat, but still a good rule. To know when to flip, watch for two things: 1) The edges will start to have a curve up to them, showing just a little firmness, which makes it easier to get your spatula under it. 2) Wait for small bubbles to appear near the center of the pancake. This means its starting to cook through.
I'm using an old pan, so I use butter pam between each cake. Its not necessary if you have nicer gear.

I had the perfect pictures to illustrate some of these points... but today my camera had a heart attack when I tried to download some pictures off of it, so those photos will have to wait until after I finish performing minor invasive surgery on a certain rebellious piece of electronics.

I'd been considering the following waffle recipe, but he picked pancakes. His big breakfast! I'll try these another time and let you know what I think.

Original King Arthur recipe
1 1/2 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour, white whole wheat or traditional
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil

My modifications:
Seperate egg, fold in egg white at the end.
Add tsp vanilla (with me its usually just a splash, not actually measured)
1/2 tsp baking soda


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hello Blog World!

Isn't always so exciting to start a new blog? For me, its like getting a new journal. The pages are blank and fresh, ready and waiting for my favorite pen to touch the paper. Everything is full of possibility; I haven't made any typos yet!

A very warm welcome to those of you that have found me. Joyful Foodie is going to be a place of exploration. From a young age I've loved playing with my food... though initially my taste was atrocious! These days I call myself a baker, a cook, and on rare occasion, a short order chef. It all depends on what the day and the mood brings. I'm an educator by trade, so I hope steps in my recipes will be thought out and easy to follow, though while I relive some of my family's handed down  can make no promises; my Farmor was thoroughly a "pinch of this" cook. Through this blog I mean to bring you not only some of my favorite recipes, but also some of my favorite stories. Everyone has a favorite meal! Those stories should be savored and remembered as much as the first delicious bite. I try not to take myself too seriously; when I forget, there are usually tears over a "disaster" in my kitchen. But it is still standing, and so am I, so it can't ever be as bad as I thought.

So, things to look forward to:
  • recipes
  • photographs
  • restaurant reviews
  • stories of meals past and present
And always, the invitation that you share your stories, feedback, and favorites with me! I'm so excited to start the adventure!



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