Friday, February 29, 2008

A Bread of Memories

In 1993-1994, my family and I lived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. We traded living places with a local family...we went to their two bedroom apartment and they took our house...I slept on the couch the whole year. Anyway, my dad was the supervisor for 3 college students from MC. They did have local families take care of them; however, they spend a lot of time at our apartment. We spent a lot of time playing cards...a LOT. We also ate together a good bit. One of our favorite things to get was ekmek. Daddy would get two loaves on his was home from university. When he got home, they would still be warm...and the attack would begin, especially with the college students there! Basim, the lone male, would probably eat half a loaf alone! Toppings included butter, homemade raspberry jam, nutella, and even Milky Way topping. Soooo good! Why do I tell you all of this? The February challenge for Daring Bakers was to make Julia Child's French bread. When I tasted the bread, fresh out of the oven (no, I did NOT wait the two hours you were supposed to wait) I went on a time machine journey back to Bishkek! It tasted so much like Ekmek! I don't really know how to rate this recipe. First of all, it takes just about all day to make...this is why I made it the FIRST Saturday it was available, a first! Next, the bread really doesn't hold for many days. For a large gathering, it would be great. For just a few people, it might not be worth it...even though we ate all of it and enjoyed it. Oh...just a thought...once this bread sits for a few days, it would be a GREAT soup sopper....kind of crusty and soaks up liquid just deliciously! So, maybe it's not so bad for just a few people. Thanks to Mary at The Sour Dough & Sara at I Like to Cook for this wonderful challenge. Once again, a recipe that I wouldn't have done had I not been part of this group! Check out the other great posts here. Because this is such a long recipe, I'm not posting it here. If you'd like it, check out Sara's posting here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Still a Perfect 10!!!

I was on call today and we got 10 patients (the most we can get) in only two I was there later than I expected. Anyway, I don't know if this will get to Cate in time, but it's my entry for her ARF Tuesday at Sweetnicks. Last week, before I caught a stomach bug from one of my patients, I made this delicious chicken dish that I found in our local newspaper. Each week, the food section has a celebrity interview and gives one of the celebrity's favorite recipes. Two weeks ago, the person was Mary Lou Retton. I figure that since she's a former gymnast and proponent for healthy lifestyle, this would be nice and healthy...and with these black beans, it's great for antioxidants and fiber! The chicken turned out SOOOO tender! If you have about an hour to wait but not much time for hands on time, this is perfect. Serve with rice and a salad, maybe even some cornbread, and you have a yummy, healthy, and festive Mexican meal! Mary Lou's family favorite "Perfect 10" Southwest Chicken
3-4 chicken boneless, skinless breasts (I used chicken tenders)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 medium jar picante sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used Kraft fat's actually pretty good!)
Pam spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken on bottom of Pam-sprayed Dutch oven. Sprinkle with chili powder, paprika, garlic salt and pepper. Mix black beans, corn and picante sauce and pour over chicken. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and top with cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy...errrr...Valentine's Day?

Just a couple of weeks late, huh? My VA medicine team was on call on Valentine's Day* (great fun, huh?), so I decided to make some cookies to take in. Though I have found a couple of recipes that I do like, I'm always curious to see what new recipes taste like. The recipe I used this time is from a cookbook I received in a little contest at Cathy's site. She just recently went through the entire book and I could never find it in the bookstores. Now I have it! Thanks Kathy! The book is Maida Heatters Book of Great Cookies. I haven't had a chance to make any other recipes, but there are many that look wonderful. ANYWAY, back to the sugar cookies. I'm pretty picky about my sugar cookies. I don't like them thin and crispy but a little bite around the edges is good. These had a great texture. As to taste, I thought they were a little bland. Don't really know what needs to be added, but if you are putting icing on them anyway, it doesn't matter that much! I decided to just take the plain cookies, a spray can of icing, and a selection of sprinkles to our team room. They turned out to be a hit! One of our interns wasn't feeling good that day and the "blandness" was good for him. The other intern had fun sweetening her cookies. And Sarah? Well, let's just say she's got some sweet lips! Plain Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
3 1/4 cups AP flour (sifted)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk

Sift dry ingredients together. In a mixer, cream the butter. Add the vanilla and sugar to this and beat well. One at a time, add the eggs and then the milk. On low, add the dry ingredients, scraping bowl as needed. Divide the dough and wrap each half in wax paper or cling wrap then in aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or longer (I did it overnight).

When ready, preheat the oven to 400 degress F. Place one piece of dough on a lightly floured pastry cloth (I used waxed paper and it worked fine). Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness using a floured rolling pin (or one of those awesome marble pins...I so want one!). Using the cookie cutters of your choice, cut out the cookies. Keep rolling and cutting until all of the dough is used. Transfer the cookies to a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Decorate as desired!

*Sorry for the poor picture does not lend to good pictures and all the cookies got eaten. Was not expecting that!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

All Wrapped Up!

Last week our dear Cate over at Sweetnick's made a surprise announcement...she just welcomed a new member to the family, her precious little Madeline Olivia! That is why we took a break from ARF Tuesday. However, Cate is super-mom and is already back at it. In honor of her being "all wrapped up" with her new bundle of joy, who apparently has her brother, and I'm sure Daddy, wrapped around her little finger already, my entry for ARF is chicken breasts wrapped around spinach and goat cheese! I just kind of threw this together one day and it was pretty good. The only thing I need to work on is the exact timing of the cooking and the seasoning. This is a pretty quick and versatile meal. Stuff the thinned chicken breasts with whatever you want and cook away. It's also easy to make for just a few people! Later in the week, I cut these up and served them on top of a salad. Great leftovers! So, for all you busy moms and dads, or even those of you who are just busy...give these a try and stop by Cate's to see the other great recipes AND her new family member! Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
as many chicken breasts as you want, pounded to 1/4 inch thick
goat cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. After you pound the chicken (which is done well between some cling wrap with either a meat pounder thingy or even a rolling pin - my tool of choice!) place several leaves of spinach and a little goat cheese inside. Then roll the chicken fajita style. Place the seal on the bottom of the pan. Cook for around 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy! I served with salsa!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Bran"d New Muffins and Blog

First, a quick update. Last Tuesday, the tornado that hit Union University destroyed many dorms and damaged others. Through the past week there has been much clean-up going on. Rooms were "bagged and tagged," arrangements for student housing has been made, and classes have been rearranged. On Monday classes will start again...there's already been a basketball game! Of all the students involved, none passed away and only 5 remain in the hospital, with serious but non-life threatening injuries! What a great God we serve! He is Sovereign and full of mercy towards us! Now a yummy and healthy muffin. A few weeks ago, I found a new site called A Cookie a Day. There are so many good looking recipes on there...lemon and caper tilapia, lasagna rolls, lentil soup...but what caught my eye that day were some fantastic looking muffins. Add to that that they were healthy, a winner! On top of the changes already made, I made a few of my own changes. I decided to remove 1/2 cup of flour and replace it with 1/2 cup wheat bran. I also only used 1/4 cup margarine instead of 5 T. And because I ran out, I used about 3/4 cups of brown sugar; I think it could even be decreased to 1/2 cup. Even with the small amount of fat in these muffins, there were SO tender. The spices give them a fantastic flavor and they just smelled fantastic. I am definitely making these again! Here is the original recipe...if you want something healthy and fantastic for breakfast or even a snack, try these muffins.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 T) margarine, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pecans or walnuts (3 1/2 oz), coarsely chopped
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan.
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl until combined well, then add butter, a little at a time, whisking until mixture is creamy. Stir in applesauce, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened. Stir in nuts and divide batter among muffin cups

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Unfortunately...not a food post

As most of you know, I'm sure, last night there was some really bad weather in the South. One of the hardest hit areas was Jackson, TN, where my parents live. They are fine and didn't have any damage, but the college where my dad teaches, Union University, was directly hit. Looking at pictures you would think it was a war zone. Cars are flipped and re-parked, almost every building has damage, and two dorms, one each women's and men's, are completely destroyed. At this point, the college has not place to house the students. However, this is a complete example of God's hand in everything! Even with all that destruction...there were no deaths! About 20 students were trapped in the debris but no one has major/life-threatening injuries. He is comepletely sovereign in all things. He is Jehovah Jireh - our Lord who provides - and will provide for these students and the university. He is Jehovah Shammah - the Lord who is with us - and never leaves. Praise God for His goodness! Please pray for the University and the students and faculty as decisions are made and things cleaned and repaired.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

College Dinner for ARF

I spend a lot of time talking about the foods I make for my brother. WELL, this weekend his girlfriend went to visit and he made Friday night supper for her and some friends (fried catfish, hushpuppies, and fried) and then made Sunday dinner. I was super impressed. He even sent me pictures. Who knew!? What did he make? Roast with veggies and rolls!!! Wow, Philip! So, I told him that I would post this on here if he told me what he did. Do you like easy, chop and bake recipes? If so, this is for you! Because of the great carrots, onions, and even potatoes, this is my entry to Sweetnicks ARF Tuesday. Check by there for other great recipes! you go! Philip's Sunday Roast
1 chuck pot roast (unsure of weight)
red potatoes
baby carrots
red onions
mushrooms (optional)
McCormick pot roast seasoning with an oven bag- an all in one deal

Chop the onions and potatoes and put all ingredients into the oven bag. Cook for 3 hours at 350 or as according to directions. As Philip says, "It doesn't have to cook for that long but it just makes it really tender if you do!" :-)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Chocolate for your Valentine...Even when You're in a Pinch for Time!

It seems that chocolate is the going post topic these days! I'm not entering the contest so many people are but...many moons ago (i.e., around Christmas!), my mom printed off a recipe she wanted to try. What was this recipe? None other than Rachael Ray's Five-Minute Fudge. I had seen her prepare in on Oprah (which I think is where Mama had seen it as well) and thought that it would be a fun recipe to try. We didn't do too much adding to it and did not do the lovely wreath that Rachael does, but this fudge turned out okay. Really, my only "problem" with it was that the butterscotch morsels didn't melt! I don't know if they have a higher melting temp than the chocolate or what, but I think we were in a rush to go somewhere, so I didn't have time to wait! As I've mentioned several times here before, my dear brother does not like nuts in his foods. Thus, being the wonderful sister that I am, I constructed a cute little double-sided aluminum foil pan to make some fudge without nuts just for him. How grateful was he? He didn't even eat more than one piece of the fudge!!! Oh, well. I think the unmelted butterscotch threw him off, as they did look like little peanuts! All in all, this was a pretty good recipe, but it doesn't hold a candle to Dr. McMath (who DOES teach math at Mississippi College!) fudge, does it Daddy? We STILL need to get that recipe, so I can make it! If you have a Valentine who likes chocolate, this would be an easy treat to make for them next week. If they prefer white chocolate, I think that a white chocolate, pistachio, cranberry fudge would be delicious!
Five Minute Fudge (adapted from Rachael Ray)
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
9 ounces (3/4 of a 12-ounce bag) butterscotch morsels
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
8X8 cake pan, lightly greased with softened butter
Place a heavy pot on the stove and preheat it over low heat.
Add chips and milk and stir until chips are melted and milk combined. Stir in vanilla and remove fudge from heat. Add nuts and stir in immediately. Spoon fudge into pan and make smooth.
The fudge will set up almost immediately. Chill covered in the refrigerator and slice fudge into SMALL squares when ready to serve, a little goes a long way.