Sunday, January 29, 2012

Angel food for an angel like me!

This week I received the new King Arthur Flour catalog in the mail and immediately checked out the gluten free section of the catalog for any new products I couldn't live without. Instead, what I found was a sidebar recipe for gluten free angel food cake using their gf all-purpose flour. Angel food cake turns out to be a pretty easy recipe, basically just sugar and egg whites with a little bit of flour. And since I had everything on hand I had to give it a try. I'm not one of those people who likes to experiment on guests before confirming the recipe's any good.

The base recipe was very easy - a bowl of sifted cornstarch, flour, and sugar slowly folded into a bowl of whipped egg whites, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and cream of tartar.

Then the whole mess is scooped into a angel food cake pan, or, if like me, you don't have one you just use your bundt cake pan (and a couple of baby bundts for the extra filling).
I baked the baby bundts for 25 minutes while the big boy stayed in for 45 minutes.

After their requisite two hour cooling time I turned out the big one and cut into it to survey the majesty.
Absolute perfection! It had the exact taste and texture of store bought angel food cake. We're eating the two baby bundts for our dessert tonight topped with heated, sweetened berries. Yum!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My favorite view

I love me some afternoon Dutch Bros. coffee. It keeps me awake until 5:00 pm.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Doesn't get much easier than this

What better day than a cold, rainy Sunday to fire up the crock pot for a low and slow meal of Mexican pulled pork. With nothing more than a  pork tenderloin (mine was a Safeway pre-marinated mesquite bbq one), some tomato sauce and seasonings...
you end up with this about 8 hours later...
The intention was to make tacos with it.
But the Canadian despises corn tortillas and their 99% breakage rate so he chose to serve his pork over toasted bread kind of like Chicken a la King. Whatever makes his little heart happy.

We just finished watching the last movie on our latest Netflix 4-week free trial last night. "The Fighter" with Marky Mark and Christian Bale. Since it was based on a true story and about sports it violated two of my movie trifecta rules (I don't willingly watch movies about sports, true stories, and in or about Africa) so I paid very little attention to it, but the Canadian enjoyed it. I much preferred Bridesmaids. That's as close to real life as I want to watch!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guess what I made...

Gluten free French bread! I used a recipe from the company that I special order my gluten free flour from that looked easy enough for even a yeasted bread novice such as myself. But first I needed to find a French bread pan so I headed straight for The Galley this morning and picked up a 3-loaf baguette pan.
The recipe was pretty easy - line, grease, and sprinkle cornmeal on the pan.
Mix the flour and salt in the KitchenAid while proofing the yeast in some hot water with sugar. After 5 minutes add the liquids to the flour and beat the heck out of it.

Then the wet dough is scooped into a Ziploc bag and squeezed out into the baguette pan.

After letting it rise for 20 minutes I slashed the tops and baked them for about 40 minutes in a 410 degree oven.
I know they look a little rough on the outside, but on the inside they look exactly like French bread. And taste like it! The outside is crunchy and the inside soft and chewy. Even the Canadian was a fan.
So good and so easy! I left one loaf out for our snacking enjoyment and sliced and froze the second loaf for later. And by later I mean by tomorrow afternoon at the rate we're gobbling it down!

Homemade Baileys

Chris was over at our neighbor's, Doug's, house doing a winter beer sampling this afternoon and brought me back some of Doug's homemade Baileys liqueur. OMG - delicious!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Party like it's your birthday

Tonight was a get together up in P-town for a retired co-worker's 65th birthday. We all got together at the lounge of a local steakhouse for a light dinner and cake. It was hell getting there though through the torrential rain and windstorm. I think I would have made better time in a Sea-Doo.

It was a wonderful party full of great people. Since I just got over two days of a horrible tummy I didn't eat anything, but enjoyed a couple sips of champagne. Our party favors were large print word find puzzle books! By 7:30 pm we had to start packing it up since there was a karaoke contest starting at 8:00 pm. The karaoke crowd, and their 1980s fashions, frighten me so I took that as my cue to float myself back down the hill.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

You can't win 'em all

Tonight was my last night of new recipes for this week, a Mexican rice casserole. Seasoned hamburger mixed with cooked rice, tomato sauce, black beans and cilantro then topped with sliced of tomatoes and cheese.

After baking for about 30 minutes I cut us each a slice to accompany our salad and green beans and had the following reaction - meh. Not bad, just not a panty dropping recipe. I should have topped it with guacamole and sour cream, but the Canadian thinks guacamole is the devil's food so it's never in the house. We'll eat the leftovers, but definitely don't need to spend my oh so precious time making it again.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tastes like pizza

Tonight the hubs and I took a quick break from watching football (way to go Niners!!) to whip up a new chicken recipe out of the current Cooking Light issue - chicken with pepperoni-marinara sauce. Ridiculous I tell you, ridiculously good that is. Skillet cooked chicken covered in a marinara sauce that's been simmered with chopped pepperoni, garlic, oregano and basil, and then topped with mozzarella cheese before being stuck under the broiler for a few minutes.

The sauce literally tasted like you were eating a really saucy pepperoni pizza. I'm glad the Canadian liked it because he'll be eating it for lunch most of next week. I didn't realize that when you saute pepperoni it releases a bunch of it's oil which is what really flavors the marinara sauce. Now to figure out what to do with almost a whole pack of pepperoni since I only needed 16 slices for the recipe.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Time to get beautiful

For the second time in 2011 I ordered Today's Special Value from QVC and it just arrived on Monday.
A Laura Geller makeup kit. Eyelid and makeup primers, a dual eye shadow powder, a foundation powder, and a blush powder. They're great colors and I've been wearing them all week.

Tuesday night we went to the movies and saw Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I really wanted to see it, but I found it to be kind of boring. Lots and lots of talking and not one bit of action. I prefer car chases, shoot outs, gratuitous nudity, and explosions. You know, the American dream on the big screen.

Tonight I tried another new recipe - Asian dumplings. They're basically homemade potstickers. I filled won ton wrappers with a cream cheese shrimp mixture (with water chestnuts, green onion, red bell pepper, teriyaki sauce, and soy sauce) and seared them in a non stick skillet before steaming them for a few minutes.

A little time consuming for a regular work night dinner, but really tasty and fairly easy. I made sure to take drugs so that the wheat laden won ton wrappers don't kick my ass tomorrow like earlier in the week when we ate the buffalo chicken cup leftovers. That was brutal. We've been really lucky this last week with some really good recipes. Tomorrow is another new meal out of my latest Cooking Light magazine. Chicken breasts covered in a cheesy, pepperoni marinara sauce - how can that not be a winner?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Salvation Army

Tonight was my turn to serve dinner at the Salvation Army. I serve with some other people from church who actually do all the cooking. However, tonight, a new Hispanic gal I'd never met before made pots and pots of Posole (Mexican stew with pork and hominy) for us to serve. Each of the bowls were topped with shredded cabbage, minced onions, and a wedge a lemon. On the side we served chips and homemade salsa.

Although I never eat dinner there with the rest of the workers, for the first time in over a year I did ask to bring some leftovers home. How could I pass up pork stew for the boy?
I saved them for Chris' lunches since I already had dinner plans at home. Tonight I made buffalo chicken muffins. Layers of won ton wrappers, shredded rotisserie chicken mixed with blue cheese and Frank's hot sauce, diced celery, and shredded cheese. An absolute hit!
I made them in my spanking new muffin tin which I greased up like nobody's business with cooking spray. By God, nothing's going to stick to that thing! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New and old recipes

I've been using my awesome new meal planner book to write down recipes I find to try since by the time I sit down to write my shopping list I've usually long since forgotten all the recipes I wanted to make. One "new" recipe was mini taco salads. We've made them before, and I even have a taco salad shell form to bake the tortillas in, but this recipe called for corn tortillas instead of flour (which is necessary for me) and showed how to tuck them in between the groves of an upside down muffin tin to bake them into shape.
Super easy and practically finger food. I definitely like these smaller corn shells over the larger flour shells we usually make.

This morning I made a new breakfast recipe that were sausage, egg and hash brown muffins. Although the "hash browns" I bought at Grocery Outlet turned out to be square shaped like southern style potatoes. Anyway, you mix the thawed potatoes with oil, salt and pepper and scoop them in 12 muffin cups and then use a pestle-style implement to make a well in the center of the muffin cups while pushing the potatoes along the sides of the cup to form the sides of the muffins. While the potatoes bake for about 20 minutes you cook up some turkey or chicken breakfast sausage and then chop it up. After you pull out the potatoes you add a sprinkle of low-fat cheese in each muffin cup topped with a few chunks of sausage and then you fill each one up with beaten egg and it all goes back in the oven for about another 15 minutes. After all of that, you end up with this;

Suck ass. When they say to spray the pan with non-stick spray they don't mean a light, half-hearted spritzing. They mean douse every freaking square inch. The pan is a total loss. After 6 hours of soaking in two different refills of boiling water I still can't get the potato debris out. If I ever make these again I will definitely use cup liners. Besides all the devastation left behind, they were really good and the leftovers will make the next few breakfasts' a breeze. Live and learn, right?

Tonight for dinner we did an old favorite, Eggplant Parmesan.

The recipe was out of one of my Healthy Cooking magazines my mom got me a subscription to last year. I half the recipe and it fits perfectly in an 8x8 and makes four, 3-layered stacks of eggplant parmesans.
I bread the eggplant in gluten free bread crumbs and that little tweak makes them perfect for me. It's layers of baked, breaded eggplant slices, marinara sauce, jarred mushrooms mixed with oregano and basil, and low-fat mozzarella cheese. Yum, yum, yum.

I've got two more new recipes to try this week. Buffalo chicken "cupcakes" and then a chicken sausage and spinach risotto. They sound delicious and I have high hopes for their tasty success. That should be a 2012 resolution - no bad recipes. Ha, I wish!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dusting off the craft room

Apparently the last page I scrapbooked was the trip to the monk's winery in Vina that we took my mom on in November 2010. Oye! My two weeks off from work ended up getting spent on random this and that's and I never sat down and did any crafting as previously planned...until yesterday. I found an envelope with a couple of pictures I'd printed in anticipation of scrapbooking the last few pages of 2010 so I dug through my supplies and put together a page about my friend Alicia's 40th birthday in December 2010.
Chris took advantage of another day of unseasonably warm January weather (63 yesterday, 59 today) and spent some time outside today at the bbq wood smoking grains for a new beer he's brewing this afternoon.
Thankfully my cookie sheet made it through the process unharmed. It looked a little iffy there for a while. Now he's commandeered the kitchen for his diabolical brewing purposes so be prepared for a beer update from him.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

We actually made it until midnight! Unfortunately, by then I'd reached my second wind and then couldn't go to sleep. I started off 2012 with a bang - I apparently wasn't listening (surprise, surprise) or didn't get the memo that there was only one church service today at 10:00 a.m. instead of one at 9:00 and at 11:00. So, after waking up early, off I roar out of the driveway at 8:55 a.m. only to pull up to a completely empty church. I just looped around the corner, came back home, and checked my January church newsletter for any hint of a special, single new year's service. Nothing mentioned, but I doubt Jesus takes a Sunday off so I'll swing back by at 10:00 and see if there's any action then. Doh!