Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Moroccan Eating

Several weeks back, David found a recipe on a Kroger publication of all places!  It was for Moroccan quinoa.  He's not a big fan of quinoa but Kate and I both like it.  She actually said "I love quinoa" last night.  :-)  So, if he suggested it, you better believe I'm making it.  It really turned out GREAT!   I ended up leaving out the corriander because all I could find was corriander seeds.  Forgive me, but I am NOT crushing my own seeds!  The spices I used were paprika and cumin.  With just that it turned out SPICY.  I guess it's the paprika?  I also added some bell pepper.  I just felt like it needed some veggies in it.  Looks like a great dinner to me?  Try it!

Moroccan Quinoa Chicken Skillet from Healthy Living Made Simple July/August
2 lemons (I just used lemon Juice because I oddly enough couldn't find lemons!  I found limes but no lemons)
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I didn't use this)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves (or 3 tsp preminced garlic) minced
1 cup dried apricots, chopped (I used about 1/3 cup craisins - despite loving apricots, they were too pricey for me)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups veggie stock
2 chicken breasts, cubed

In a medium bowl, combine the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.  Toss in the cubed chicken.  Once coated, place chicken in a pre-heated skillet sprayed with cooking spray (or a small amount of olive oil).  Cook until browned.  Add the onion, bell pepper and craisins.  Add lemon juice at this point (or the thinly sliced lemon).  Cook until the onion is softened.  Add the quinoa and stir for about two minutes.  Then add the veggie stock and more lemon juice.  Raise heat to a boil.  Then cover the pan and lower heat to medium low.  Cook for 20 minutes, covered.  I cooked about 30.  Remove from heat and let cool five minutes.  I meant to top with sliced green onion but forgot.  Oops!  Fluff the quinoa gently and enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Getting to Know You!

Mississippi Women Bloggers is having a "get to know you" survey.  I really think these things are fun!  Check out my answers and then go see what my fellow Mississippi bloggers answered!  Get to know us!  :-)

1. Are you a morning or night person?
Do I have the option of saying neither?  I really don't like getting up early but can't really sleep late.  But I can't really stay up late either: midnight is about the latest I can do but I start fading around 10!
2. Are you a collector of anything?
I "collect" boxes.  This kind of started out of necessity.  My dad went on lots of mission trips when I was little and he started bringing back boxes as souvenirs.  They are now all over my house and I can't bear to get rid of any.
3. If you were given 1 million dollars, what do you do with it?
First I'd give to my church, then pay off debt (love medical school debt), probably take a vacation, and put some away in savings.

4. What is your worst pet peeve?
Hmmm...not sure about my worse pet peeve.  My husband just said "change of plans."  That's a pretty good one but I'm not sure if that counts as a pet peeve (though I really do NOT do well when what I have planned gets put by the wayside.  It really throws me for a loop).  Again, my husband came up with this but it's a pretty good one - patients being late to clinic appointments (I'm talking 20+ minutes, not just a couple).  Please, just get there on time.  If you are 20 minutes late, it means you got them 35 minutes after we asked you to arrive. (After experiencing this I have made an effort to really try to arrive that 15 minutes "early" that is requested to my doctor appointments)
5. What is the best thing about your hometown? (Psst…we’d love to hear all about it in a guest post for August’s “Local Flavor” theme.)
I'd say community.  People know other people, try to help out, have pride in the town and schools, participate in local events, markets, etc.
6. If you were stranded on a desert island, and your iPod could only hold 10 songs, what would they be (assuming the battery lasts forever, of course)?
First, I don't have an iPod, so I guess none!  However, I'd probably have "In Christ Alone" from the Getty's, "Defying Gravity", "Music of the Night," "The Prayer," some sort of Manheim Steamroller Christmas song, "Just to See You Smile" (this was on a cd David made for me our first Valentine's together.  I had never heard it before but it definitely made ME smile because I knew exactly why he had put it on the cd!), "When I Fall in Love" (first dance song), "Bring Him Home," some sort of Beetles song (I know, specific, right?!), and a version of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" (I really like the new chorus combo of the old hymn with a new bridge).

7. If you could have a do-over in only one area of your life, would you want one? And if so, what would it be?
I have a couple, probably everyone does.  We'll go with the silly, childhood area.  I really wish I could go back and keep playing softball.  You see, I gave it up in 4th grade because at that point, the YMCA league stopped and you had to go to the city competition league.  It was (and still is) VERY competitive.  I just wanted to play for fun and not worry about whether winning was important or not.  Looking back, I REALLY wish I had kept playing.  It was fun!  Do I wish I had kept playing in band when I stopped in 10th grade because they wouldn't let me (an oboist) only do concert season and skip marching season...no.  But I do regret quitting softball in 4th grade!
8. What is your absolute favorite meal. (Pretend calories don’t exist.)
This is so hard for me!  I still think I'd say a good vegetable meal: fried green tomatoes, FRESH red tomatoes, sauteed squash, black eyed peas, green beans, okra, corn bread...maybe corn pudding.  Then blueberry pie and ice cream for dessert. 
9. Do you have a hero? If so, who is it?
A hero!?  hmmm, I've never really thought about a hero in those terms.  I have plenty of people that I respect, but I don't really know that I could say I have a hero.

10. Why do you blog?
I started blogging back in 2005.  WOW!  TEN YEARS!  I think I started because I liked reading the other blogs that were out there and I enjoyed cooking.  So, I thought I'd add a little hobby.  I has also been a way to try new recipes.  At that time, I think I wouldn't really have tried new things.  Now, I still try new things despite having less time to blog.  I have considered not blogging but it's still fun to share what I've been doing with other people.  So, even though I am much more random and sporadic at blogging, I will keep blogging.  I mean, who wouldn't want to share baking experiences with such a cute sous chef as I have...and a new sidekick coming soon!?

Read more at http://www.mississippiwomenbloggers.com/#ob2WdX6XT0PP2fLB.99

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Frozen Surprise Cake

 We are birthday busy in the month of July at our house.  K turned five earlier and David's birthday is tomorrow.  Last weekend we had a Frozen birthday for K.  I had suggested an ice cream cake several months back thinking I'd buy one from Dairy Queen (those cakes were all the rage when I was growing up!) but then when this month's Daring Baker's challenge came up, I figured I'd make one.  For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

I had done lots of pinterest searching and found some fun ideas to do with the outside of the cake and the inside as well.  All in all, this cake was REALLY easy.  I just made two 8-inch cake rounds and dyed each a different "frozen" color. 
Then I placed a half-gallon of ice cream in the other 8-inch cake round and put it in the freezer.  It all went together like this:  cake - ice cream - cake - layer of icing - fondant.  I was really pleased with the outcome.

David did say at one point that we weren't going to do anything creative next year, we were just going to buy everything.  I told him that was fine...he didn't have to do anything creative, I'd do it.  I think that stemmed from trying to find free printables for the other food, which I'll share soon.  I didn't have any....well, only had one break down when I was making the fondant.  I had rolled it out and was trying to transfer it onto the cake. 
Well, it was breaking and I thought "I can lightly roll it and then roll it out over the cake."  Yeah...fondant won't unroll.  It stuck together.  Let's just say, that fontant got a good beating.  Yikes!  I did reroll it and had David help me put it on the cake. 
Then the morning of the party, I put Olaf on top and we had a frozen cake!  It turned out really fun.  Even the inside was colorful and festive.  I didn't get any complaints!  This was such a fun challenge!

Frozen Ice Cream Cake
1 box white cake mix, made to instructions on box
1 half gallon ice cream, your chosen flavor
1/2 can frosting
1 recipe Fondant:
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Slightly thaw ice cream.  Spread into round cake pan and place pan in freezer to solidify.  Bake cake per package instructions.  Divide into two cake pans.  Use you desired color of food coloring (or mixin would be fun too!).  Allow cake to cool.  When ready to assemble, take ice cream out of freezer.  Place on cake layer on a cake plate.  You can protect the plate from future decoration by putting wax or parchment paper under the cake, but sticking out so it can be removed after decoration.  Then place the ice cream layer on top.  To loosen from the pan, turn it upside down (holding it in with a layer of wax paper on top!) and hold the pan under warm water for a few seconds.  this will "melt" the ice cream so that it pops out easily.  Place the ice cream disc on top of the first cake layer.  Then place the second cake layer on top of the ice cream layer.  At this point, you can go ahead and ice or you can place into the freezer to decorate later. 

To make fondant, blend the butter, corn syrup, vanilla and salt on medium speed with a paddle attachment until smooth and well-combined.  Add the powdered sugar all at once, and mix on slow speed, gradually increasing speed to medium until well-combined. The mixture should cling together in the bottom of the bowl and be smooth to the touch.  When done, place in desired food coloring to get the color you desire and mix in with beater (you could use your hands and knead it but then you would have dyed hands, trust me...I know!).  Roll out to appropriate shape about 1/8 of inch thick.  At this point, you are ready to put it on your cake.

Prior to placing fondant on the cake, you need to put a crumb coat of icing.  Put a very thin layer of icing on the cake.  Then cover with your fondant.  It is highly likely that you'll need some help doing this, I did!  Then decorate as desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weeks 30-31

Wow!  I didn't realize I was so far behind on posting these.  I'm now only 9 weeks (that's a report card time span) away from due date.  Craziness!  These past two weeks have been really busy.  We are still trying to get moved in.  We are a bit more settled and actually have some pictures hung...but our garage still shows evidence of moving.  Last week, K was out of town with grandparents.  David and I did get to spend a little time together.  We went to Sam's one night (so exciting) and then went on a DATE NIGHT the next. 
We went furniture shopping first and then out to eat at Bravo.  It was REALLY good.  They have a large gluten free menu, so David was able to choose from a wide variety.  He ordered gluten free bruschetta, which was SO good.  Then for the main dish he had chicken fettuchini. I had a pineapple curry shrimp dish with polenta and veggie.  I actually subbed out a few shrimp for a crab cake that was great!  Then we had dessert. 
David got the peanut butter pie with pecan crust (SO good) and I have butter pecan gelato.  Again, SO good!  We just had a good time together.

The rest of the week was spent preparing for K's 5th birthday party.  I did a frozen themed party at a local gymnastics place.  She had a great time and I was really pleased with the outcome...but it WORE. ME. OUT!  We also went back to the furniture store again with my parents.  Still not sure what we'll do in the den or for a changing table.  Again, so tired I took a 2 hour nap Monday!  Tuesday I had my first two week appointment.  I can't believe it's already here.  Everything looked good and we're planning for one more ultrasound in about 4 weeks. 

Due Date: September 25, 2014  
How Far Along: 31 weeks
Fruit/Veggie: romaine lettuce head, napa cabbage,  - 16 inches, 2.5-3.5 pounds
Gender: It's a BOY!  
Exercise: Still exercising almost daily.  Getting harder to motivate myself.  I'm just starting to feel lazy.  however, I went to my weights class last week and I'm going to it and kickboxing over the next couple of days.  Excited!

Sleep: I'm pretty consistently up at least twice a night, sometimes three.  Thankfully, I fall asleep almost immediately upon getting back in bed.  The pregnancy pillow has been great recently!  Now, if only K would quit waking me up to tell me she's afraid of the shadows!  ;-) 

Cravings: Um...ice cream, sausage biscuits.  Sometimes it's still hard to decide what I want.  I've been a little queasy on some mornings but it passes quickly once I drink some water.  I'm actually enjoying the water more recently, which I guess is good.

What I love: Feeling and watching the baby move! He has really been moving and grooving recently, especially during morning clinic and from 8-10pm.  I absolutely LOVE it!  My husband...he has continued to be supportive and encouraging.

What I miss: turning over in bed easily, bending over easily, being able to go "full out" at the gym, having energy for the WHOLE day!

What I'm looking forward to: picking out furniture for the house and nursery (found a chair I like, just have to decide if I'm going to get it), a couple more showers, school shopping with K

What I'm thankful for:  My sweet husband, always taking care of me.  A healthy pregnancy. K's party going well, getting to see family recently

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chocolate Donuts

We have a new donut shop in our town.  I haven't tried it yet but someone mentioned the blueberry cake donuts and now I really want one!  I think that is one of the things that David has missed being (essentially) gluten free - donuts, especially powdered sugar ones.  I did recently make some of those for him but way back in February I found a chocolate version.
K and I made them one night.  She enjoyed the facts that we were making donuts and David enjoyed the donuts. 
They were fairly easy.  The biggest problem I have with making homemade donuts is that I haven't figured out how to get the icing to work right.  I guess I just need to specifically find a "donut icing" recipe.  It just tends to be good the first little bit and then disappears over a day or so.  All in all, these were good and David enjoyed them for his "second breakfast" that week.

Gluten Free Chocolate Baked Donuts from Serious Eats
  • 3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) potato starch or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • For the Glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, optional


Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together oat flour, granulated sugar, potato starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum in a medium bowl. Add egg, yogurt, milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk until batter is smooth. Allow batter to stand for five minutes. Lightly coat donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fill cavities about halfway with batter. Place the pans in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the donuts spring back to touch.  Turn them onto a cooling rack and cool completely
 Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and lemon extract in small bowl. Dip doughnuts, one at a time, into glaze. Shake off excess glaze. Place dipped doughnuts onto wire rack. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

Last month, the Daring Bakers challenge was for cinnamon rolls.  I knew that David would be super excited about it as soon as I saw it.  What a great opportunity to "have" to try a gluten free cinnamon roll recipe.  
Now, I know I am late posting this; but, we have been moving and had a bit of trouble getting internet set u and reliable.  So, I'm posting now...about two weeks late!   Soooo....This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!
These actually turned out really good.  They were much better when heated.  David liked taking them for his "second breakfast" at work.  He said that warming it made the microwave made the icing run off some.  I guess one way to avoid this would be to reapply icing after you heat the cinnamon rolls if you don't eat them all at the first sitting.  I did make smaller rolls than the recipe instructed, so they lasted for more days.  The dough wasn't too difficult to work with but it did break a little bit when rolled.  All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good recipe and was quick.  If you need to make gluten free treats, try this one out!
Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls from Recreating Happiness
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 packet yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (83 g) potato starch
  • ½ cup (80 g) brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup (29 g) finely ground almond flour
  • ¼ cup (34 g) tapioca starch plus more for flouring your surface
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • good quality plastic wrap for rolling out (and up!) the dough
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt
*I just made a simple icing with no cream cheese but this would be good.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a pie plate.
Combine yeast and sugar in large mixing bowl.  Microwave milk and 1 tablespoon butter to approximately 110-115 degrees. Whisk into yeast mixture and set aside to proof.
Meanwhile in small bowl whisk together potato starch, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, almond flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Once yeast is proofed add in egg, oil, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Mix for a moment and then slowly add in the flour mixture. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 1½ minutes - beating long enough is essential, GF flours are "thirsty," the dough will thicken & lose it's stickiness as you beat it.
Roll out the dough: this is a sticky dough that you'll want to roll out to approximately a 13" x 10" rectangle. I placed tapioca starch on a pastry cloth but you can also use plastic wrap.  Place dough in the center and cover with a bit more tapioca starch (and another sheet of plastic wrap if using). Roll out to the needed size and then carefully peel off the top layer of plastic wrap.  Using a knife or spatula gently spread the ⅓ cup softened butter over the dough evenly leaving ½" space around the edges. 
In a small bowl combine brown sugar & cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over dough.  To roll your dough: start on one of the shorter sides and gently begin rolling your dough into a log form. Use the pastry cloth (or plastic wrap) to help you "lift and roll" the dough as you go along. Try to make it a nice tight roll, however do not try to unroll it and re-do it. You'll end up with a sticky mess.
Sprinkle lightly with tapioca starch again. Dip a sharp knife into tapioca starch then cut the rolls into desired number or size pieces.  Place the rolls, cut side down, in the prepared pie plate*. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, place in a warm spot, and let them rise for 15 minutes.  Bake 22-27 minutes until tops are golden brown. 
ICING: (Instructions for the cream cheese version are here)
Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, beat 3 tablespoons softened butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and a dash of salt.  Drizzle over the tops of cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Birthday Dessert

So, this is how far behind I am on posting.  Back in February when I turned 31, David made me a really yummy frozen strawberry dessert. 
I picked it because he had said he thought it looked good, it was (roughly) gluten free, and sounded good to me, too.  Um, can we just say I LOVED this!  I think I ate it almost every night until it was gone.  one night I had it for supper.  And one night I had two pieces.  I blame being in first trimester of pregnancy on that one!  :-)
 I say "roughly" gluten because we did use Nature Valley granola bars which are labeled gluten free but also don't have wheat as an ingredient.  This works for us, though it may not work for you.  I think K had a good time banging the bars!  :-)

Frozen Strawberry Crunch Cake from Tablespoon
  • 1 box Nature Valley Granola Bars
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour (gluten free if needed)
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly chopped strawberries
  • Directions

    Preheat oven to 350.  Unwrap all granola bars.  Place them in a bag and bang to a course crumb (or use your food processor ut kids love the slamming part!). In a large bowl, add the crumbs, brown sugar, flour and melted butter and mix together. 
    Then spread into an 8x8-inch pan that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Let cool. Then divide in half and set aside.
    Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine eggs whites and sugar and mix on high. Add the heavy cream and continue mixing for another 5 minutes.  After this, add the lemon juice and cream cheese then mix on low until well mixed.  Fold strawberries into this mixture.
    In a buttered glass pan, press half crumbs on the bottom.  Top with strawberry mixture and then press the remaining crumbs on top.  Cover and place in freezer for 3 hours or more.  Enjoy!

    Monday, July 07, 2014

    Weeks 27-28

    To say that the last two (almost three) weeks have been crazy would be an understatement!  Last week we moved and are still unpacking and finishing moving everything.  When we tried to set up internet we were told that the soonest it could be done was today...so David went with option number 3 or 4 so we could have access since I was on call last week and he is on this week.  Then my computer decided to start acting up and it's still not acting right.  Thus, my long absence!

    Moving and work and life have just exhausted me these past two weeks.  We spent most of last week moving.  Then we went to TX for a family reunion.  It was actually BEAUTIFUL!  The weather was cool (in TX in July!) and we had a really good visit.  Then when we got back, K started at a new summer camp.  She has really enjoyed it a lot but is definitely worn out by the end of the week.

    I have to say that my week on call wasn't bad.  And it was a 4 day week due to July 4th holiday.  We spent Friday and Saturday doing some shopping for the house and got a good bit accomplished but it has me beat.  We did go to fireworks Friday night and K loved it!  She also determined that fireworks are made from glitter that's all glued together and just comes apart when it goes in the air.  :-)

    Right now, David is trying to get my computer to work, attaching the DVD player upstairs, and trying to determine why the build in WiFi won't work well on the TV.  He's so good!!!  I love him!  I am preparing for my glucose tolerance test tomorrow.  Yuck!  Ready for that to be over for sure!

    Due Date: September 25, 2014  
    How Far Along: 28 weeks (and 4 days)
    Fruit/Veggie: eggplant, cauliflower - 15.5 inches, 2.5 pounds
    Gender: It's a BOY!  
    Exercise: Still exercising almost daily.  I'm definitely getting out of breath faster and can't do as much.  My jumping jacks are much closer to the ground and I'm modifying a lot...but still going!

    Sleep: I'm pretty consistently up at least twice a night.  The pregnancy pillow has been great recently!  We switched sides of the bed, so that I can sleep on my left side without feeling like there is a wall between me and David. 

    Cravings: Um...salty stuff, ice cream, sausage biscuits.  Sometimes it's still hard to decide what I want.

    What I love: Feeling and watching the baby move! The support David gives me.  Our new house.  seeing how much K is enjoying her new school and the new house. 

    What I miss: turning over in bed easily, bending over easily, being able to go "full out" at the gym, having energy for the WHOLE day!

    What I'm looking forward to: Getting the house straight and set up, choosing nursery bedding, having my GTT DONE, my shower this weekend

    What I'm thankful for:  My sweet husband, always taking care of me.  A healthy pregnancy.