Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dark Chocolate for Doc

This past weekend my parents came for a visit.  Well, really they came to go to homecoming and trade mattresses (hopefully one day K will be sleeping in my childhood bed!) but I guess visiting us and K was an added bonus.  ;-)  Of course, as with any trip from Doc and Allie, we had to make cookies for Doc.  About a month ago I found some new chocolate chips from Nestle...dark chocolate!  Doc loves dark chocolate, so I knew we had to make these.  So, last week, K donned her apron and we "made cookies for Doc." (be sure to say Doc with more of an "aw" sound rather than "ah") 

I quickly found a recipe on pinterest and away we went.  They ended up being very crunchy, especially on the outside; but, it didn't seem to keep anyone from liking them.  David had some last night with ice cream and I took the rest to work.  Gone by the afternoon!  Another cookie success.  Love baking with this girlie!

Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies from Cait's Plate
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
 ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1½ cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream together the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the vanilla.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.  Place a walnut sized dough ball onto the cookie sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Place pans in over and bake until the cookie edges are just turning golden brown, but the middles are still quite pale, about 12 to 14 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Savory Pies...YUM!

This month's Daring Baker's challenge was a bit different.  Typically a baking challenge is something that is sweet. Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.  When I told David that this was the challenge his immediate reaction was "sigh."  He's convinced he doesn't like chicken pot pie.  I quickly ensured him that the challenge wasn't for chicken pot pie but for a savory pot pie.  We had fun with this one.  I made two pot pies. 
The first one was a pizza pot pie.  I just made a batch of my pizza crust and rolled it out thin. 
Then I placed the dough in a pie plate.  I used pepperoni, roasted veggies and cheese as filling.
 We all liked it fine but decided we prefer regular pizza. 
The next pie I made was a breakfast pie.  I used a gluten free biscuit recipe because we are going to be trying a couple of weeks of gluten free meals.
 It was actually really good and David said that he liked the pie better than my traditional Christmas breakfast casserole.  Wow! 
I just scrambled eggs then layered biscuit, eggs, sausage, cheese, and biscuits and cooked it until the biscuits were done.  It was SO good!  I will definitely be making this one again!

Pizza Pot Pie
Daddy's Pizza crust
Mix and sift:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour
2 heaping teaspoons yeast (or one packet)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar

Add a scant cup of hot water. Mix. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add 1/2 cups of flour as needed (usually around 2 times). Knead. Place dough in an oiled bowl. Place this bowl in a larger bowl with warm water. Microwave for 2 minutes at power level 2, rest for 5 minutes (or longer if needed). Punch down and knead a couple of times. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Allow the dough to rest then roll out fairly thin.  Put in a pie plate.  Put pizza sauce on the bottom of crust.  Then layer with your desired toppings.  I used turkey pepperoni and roasted veggies.  Place cheese on top then fold the extra dough over the top and pinch the layers closed.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is done.

Breakfast Pot Pie
You need scrambled eggs (6 eggs), sausage (about 2/3 bag of precooked turkey sausage), cheese, and one recipe of biscuits.

Scramble eggs (6 eggs was perfect).  Make your desired biscuit recipe.  I used this one:

1½ cups superfine white or brown rice flour plus more for rolling
¾ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
6 tablespoons cold fat (such as butter, Earth Balance or shortening), cut into small pieces
¾ cup milk (any kind including dairy free) - I think I used a bit more than this

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together the flour, starch baking powder and salt. Cut the fat into the flour either with a pastry cutter, two knives or by rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingers. Make sure you leave some larger pieces of fat. Add the liquid, starting with ½ a cup and gradually adding a little more at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. Put a little flour on a work surface and dump out the dough. Knead 3 or 4 times then either roll or pat it out to about ½ inch thick.

In a pie plate, put half of the biscuit dough and press over the plate.  Put scrambled eggs on top of the biscuit dough.  Then put a layer of sausage, then a layer of cheese.  Spread the remaining portion of biscuit on top.  Place plate in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes until it is golden.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

When He Cooks for Me

I have the sweetest husband ever!  He randomly gets flowers for me.  He lets me go to the gym even when I'm late leaving work.  He looks for ways to do things that I enjoy.  He wants to take K to school and ballet.  He reads stories to her.  He seeks to lead our family in God's will.

A few weeks ago, K was out of town.  We had both worked in the ER opposite days that weekend and didn't really get to spend much time together.  The last day she was gone he wasn't going to be able to eat, but he decided to get food that I like and cook for me.  He got fresh veggies and shrimp and grilled them.  You see, he doesn't like shrimp but I love it!  So, even though he couldn't enjoy dinner, he made sure I had something that was enjoyable.  That night, we then proceeded to play Super Mario on Wii.  :-)  It was a fun night! 
Garlic Balsamic Grilled Shrimp from AllRecipes
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks


  1. In a large bowl, mix the vinegar, oil, garlic, basil, salt, and ground pepper. Place the shrimp, bell pepper, and onion in the bowl, and gently toss to coat. Cover, and allow to marinate at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat a pan grill over high heat or prepare grill. Alternately thread the shrimp, onion chunks, and pepper chunks on skewers.
  3. Place shrimp in grill basket or on skewers.  Put these on the grill.  If using skewers, cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until shrimp is opaque.  If using basket, cook until opaque.
serve with grilled veggies and cous cous.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Vegetable Soup He Liked

It appears cool weather is trying to make a go at staying here in Mississippi.  For a good vegetable soup recipe that cooks in the crockpot...and that David even liked!...visit the Mississippi Women Bloggers site. I was the featured blogger today for Foodie Friday.  :-)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Month of Pumpkin

I don't know about you, but come October I love using pumpkin in my cooking!  About two weeks ago I worked in the ER and wanted to take a treat...as I usually do.  Sometimes I try to cook things that I know wouldn't be David's preference because I frequently come home without leftovers.  I also remembered that I had some cinnamon chips in the cabinet that need to be used.  Um...hello!  Pumpkin and cinnamon, the perfect combo!  I was able to find a recipe that ended up being SO SO good. 
The cinnamon flavor was great and the texture of these was just perfect.  Pumpkin cookies can tend to be cakey and dry.  I think it's sometimes a difficult balance to obtain moistness in pumpkin baked goods.  These cookies, however, were so moist and chewy in such a good way.  I could have eaten several...which means it's a good thing I took them to work.  One of my fellow physicians even asked for the recipe.  Always a good sign!  Try these out for your fall parties!

Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from Sweet Treats More
3/4 c butter, soft
1 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c canned pumpkin
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c flour
1 3/4 c rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c cinnamon chips
Preheat oven to 350.  Beat butter and sugars together until creamy.  Beat in egg, then vanilla and pumpkin.  
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Stir in cinnamon chips. 
Drop onto baking stones or sheets.  Place in oven and bake for 12-13 minutes.  Let cool for a minute or two then transfer to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Wedding Music

I cannot believe that it's been two months since I did a wedding post.  I need to hurry or I won't have it done before we've been married a year!  Wow!  Time is flying.  In the last post I talked about how flowers were not the most important thing to me.  However, music is a totally different story!  My family is VERY musical!  My grandmother was a piano teacher, my uncle sings (he was the lead role in The Music Man in college), my mom was a music major in college and taught preschool music, and my dad plays bass guitar and trombone.  I was in concert choir, honor choir, ensembles, and band (took oboe) in high school and took piano.  I still sing in church choir and participate in the praise team many Sunday's.  See...music...important!  So, I was very picky when choosing the music for the wedding.
Since high school, I've wanted The Prayer sung at my wedding; but that was the ONLY thing I had a preference about....well, that might not be completely true!  I did NOT want Pachabel's Canon, Jesu Child of Man's desiring, or "Here Comes the Bride."  I KNEW that!  So, I started searching online for wedding music.  I found a lot of typical things.  Then I found this AWESOME arrangement of "For the Beauty of the Earth."  I WANTED that at my wedding.  Unfortunately, we couldn't get the arranger to reply to any contact and weren't able to get the music.  Thankfully, my organist is fantastic and was able to suggest something else.

Before the wedding, my precious pianist and the aforementioned fantastic organist did some organ and piano duets because they are just that good!  Then the wedding began.  Our families were seated to Vivaldi's "Winter" from Four Seasons.  This was only on organ but was so majestic.  After that, the attendants came in to "Prelude in Classic Style" by Gordon Young.  This is where I wanted "For the Beauty," but I thought this ended up being perfect.  I really wanted something bright and cheery, not a slow song.  I mean, getting married is a happy thing!

Then came time for the bridal processional.  My choice - "Wedding Processional" from The Sound of Music.  Oddly enough, I had so many people say they had never thought of using that song or had never seen it used.  It is such a GREAT song and just makes sense to me!  LOVED it!  On top of that, this is my mom's favorite movie, so I'm sure it was fun for her to have this included in my wedding ceremony.

When my dad and I got to the front of the church we had a congregational hymn.  I wanted to sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
It is such a great hymn as God is truly the source of all our blessings. He continues to give us blessings even when we wander from Him and desires for us to be bound to Him!  David and I pray that we continue to seek God FIRST and seek his guidance in everything.  We truly pray that He will COME in our marriage daily!
The only other song we had within the ceremony was The Prayer.  The male vocalist was a friend from high school.  Let me tell you, Jordan can sing!  And he has such a sweet heart to match.  The female vocalist was a girl (now friend!) who I babysat when she was in fifth grade and I was a senior.  At that point, she didn't really like singing in front of people but would sing for me!  Now, she is a high school music teacher and has a gorgeous voice.  I was SO thankful that Jordan (yep...two Jordans!) could sing as well.

This was just after the vows and, obviously, used as a prayer...but I kept my eyes open and watched.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  I have to say...I think it was better than Josh Groban and Charlotte Church!  I wish I could hear it again!  Just made the ceremony.  I get chills thinking about it!
We're almost done!  The recessional was a piece that I randomly found in my internet search.  When I heard this song I knew I HAD to have it played at my wedding...as the recessional.  The name...ready for it?!  "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba!"  HA!  "Arrival" for my recessional.  I would have been SO disappointed if Mrs. Carol hadn't had it.  Thankfully, she did...and it was wonderful!  As the postlude, she played "We Thank Thee, God" by Bach.  A beautiful musical service!

I know it is a lot, but I really do hope that you enjoy some of this music!  I heard rumors that our pastor actually commented on the music during the church service the next day!  Ha!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Earthquake Cake

One day David was playing on facebook and said "I think we should try this!"  It was a chocolate cake called "Earthquake Cake."  I told him to share it with me...and he did.  It looked pretty good but I figured it was a "david" cake since it was chocolate.  Well, I decided to make it for him when he came back from Ann Arbor for board review.  Turns out, it was really good. 
I think the cream cheese part helped make it something that I liked.  David thought the coconut was a bit much...and I think I agree.  It just needed a little less...and maybe pecans instead of walnuts?  I served David's with ice cream...and left over tres leches "milk" on mine.  :-) 
David would definitely enjoy this one being a repeat.

Earthquake Cake from Duncan Hines via Facebook
1 box Duncan Hines German Chocolate Cake Mix
•3 eggs
•1 1/3 c. water
•1/2 c. oil
•1 c. coconut
•1/2 c. chopped walnuts
•8 oz. softened cream cheese
•1 stick softened butter
•2 c. powdered sugar
•1 tsp. vanilla
•1 pkg. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray a 9’x13’ pan with cooking spray. In the bottom of pan, put the coconut and nuts.

Mix cake mix according to package directions. Spread batter over the nuts and coconut.

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until fluffy. Spread over the batter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Cool.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Crockpot Indian....Really!

When we went to London on our honeymoon (which I STILL need to post about...but first I have to finish the wedding!), one of my goals was to have different foods that usual.  Since London isn't especially known for food, that could be difficult except that they do have lots of ethnic foods available...and the Mexican isn't stellar which kept us from eating there.  :-)  The last night we had Indian.  We both REALLY enjoyed it.  Fast forward 6 months and I'm trying to find quick dishes for Tuesday nights when K has ballet until 630.  Score...crockpot Indian chicken!  I actually combined two recipes, sort of.  The night before, we had the yummy eggplant dish, which was very tomato-y; so, I didn't want to have another tomato dish the next night. So, I planned to combine recipes.  The first recipe was from here but it appears that domain name is no longer working...alas!  The other recipe I ended up not using at all...I forgot to add the spinach!  Again...alas!  In the end, the recipe ended up being good.  David enjoyed it and took leftovers one day.  My mom came in that weekend and had some for dinner and said it was perfect.  I'd make it again to shake things up in our routine for sure!

Crockpot Curry Chicken
1 pound ground chicken
1 can chickpeas
1/2-1 cup water
2 tsp curry
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika

Put all ingredients in slow cooker.  Set to low and cook for 8 hours.  Break up chicken.  Enjoy over cooked rice.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Facebook Banana Bread

Several years ago when I actually went home to visit my parents more often, I seemed to develop this tradition of making banana bread every time I went home.
 So, it's completely appropriate that my mom found a banana bread recipe that I should try.  Several Sundays ago, K helped me make the recipe.  It is a "healthy" recipe and turned out really good. 

We didn't have regular applesauce, only the strawberry squeeze pac, which K refuses to eat.  Score...now I've used them all!  And K got to squeeze it in.  The only problem was the clumps of flour that turned up as I cut into it!  Ha!  I decided to just stir the batter.  Actually, to let K stir! 

She LOVES to stir and, since I use the mixer most of the time, she doesn't get to stir much.  Oh well...you can eat flour, right?!  ;-) 

Facebook Banana Bread adapted from Facebook (unfortunately, I don't know where it came from originally!)

2 cups whole wheat flour (used all purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (used two of those kids squeeze packs because it's what I had!)
3/4 cup honey (about 2/3 cup)
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed overripe bananas


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and honey. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Family Friendly Fall Veggie Meal

October 4th.  Yes, it really is October...and 90 degrees!  Sigh.  I love fall but unfortunately there isn't much of it around here.  Thankfully, in a few days the high is 75 (though I'm sure not for long).  However, for those of you who are blessed enough to have actual FALL weather, I have some good and easy recipes coming up for you.  About a month ago, I was sitting in clinic waiting on patients to show up (yes...sometimes it's the doctor who does the waiting. ;-)  ) and found a recipe for eggplant lentil skillet.  I showed it to my boss and she agreed that it looked great.  Not five minutes later (still waiting!) I got a text from David who asked if I thought I'd like an eggplant lentil dish.  Ha!  My hubby knows me so well.  I told him that I had already pinned it and we WOULD be having it on our dinner menu the next week...and we did!  Now, if you've been actually reading my posts, you would know that David 1 - likes meat, especially ground beef, 2 - is NOT a veggie fan...BUT 3 - likes for me to have meals that I enjoy, too.  So, I made this meal the next week.  Are you ready for this...David liked it! 
 You cook the eggplant enough that it is very tender and, if you get a good eggplant, it doesn't have a very strong flavor.  He even liked this dish better than the crockpot Indian chicken I fixed the next night.  YES!  I have landed on some veggies that we can all eat.  I would be a bit more careful next time which lentils I used.  I have about half a bag of red lentils left over and used those.  They are very soft and didn't hold up as well as I would have liked...but I still think I'll be making this one again.  A veggie meal my family can agree on!  And for your viewing pleasure K's "pascal" face. 
See?  What do you think?  :-)

Skillet Eggplant and Lentils adapted from Fat Free Vegan
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large eggplant (about 18 ounces) cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils)
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika or cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt or fat free sour cream
  • Parmesan cheese (optional) for topping


- Saute the onion in a large, non-stick skillet until it begins to brown. Tip: Add a small pinch of baking soda to speed up browning. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. (SO glad to know this! - it works!)

- Add the eggplant, water, and herbs and stir well to coat the eggplant with the seasonings. Cover tightly and cook until the eggplant begins to soften, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add all remaining ingredients .  Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until eggplant is tender and sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt, add fresh basil, and serve over brown rice or other whole grain.Top with Parmesan cheese as desired.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving, without Almond Parm): 158 calories, 11 calories from fat, 1.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 87.8mg sodium, 859.2mg potassium, 31g carbohydrates, 12.5g fiber, 6.2g sugar, 9.6g protein, 4.9 points.