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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