Monday, October 31, 2011

Have a wonderful day filled with tricks and treats!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple Crisp

Okay.  The recipe I'm about to share is not new to me or this blog.  I am aware of the post last week that stated something about sharing recipes that are new to me.  Something about new things being good for you...

I am asking you, the reader of this blog, to give me a break this week for two reasons.

1.  This recipe is excellent and apples are in season right now.  I didn't want you to miss out.

2.  I have been painting the great room in our house all week (I will share soon) and was not motivated to try a new recipe.

This recipe is delicious and comes from the America's Family Test Kitchen cookbook.  We quadrupled the recipe for Chelsea's graduation party and not a single bite was left!  In fact this crisp was made twice at our house last week.  We love it!

Click on the link below for the recipe...

Note from the cook:  Don't skip the lemon zest in the recipe.  It adds such a nice flavor.

If you make the crisp come back and let me know how you liked it.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Proud Parents!

Congratulations to our daughter, Chelsea, who recently earned a degree in sociology from the University of Oregon.

Chelsea is an amazing human being.  She is very capable.  We always used to say that Chelsea didn't really need parents she could raise herself.  She assured us that was not true and that she really did need us!

In true Chelsea style, she completed her degree in just over three years.  Chelsea began working part time two years ago for the university in their brain development lab.  Her employer soon discovered her capabilities and offered her a full time job upon graduation.  She is officially a faculty member at the University of Oregon.  Nice work!

Chelsea has a passion for cooking and baking.  This passion inspired a cooking blog for the college student.  She hopes to inspire and educate college students to look beyond the basic take-out pizza and top ramen by showing them how to cook real food in a simple and budget friendly way.  Her blog is called A Duck's Oven.  Click here if you would like to visit!

Friends and family came together to celebrate this fine achievement.  In other words, we had a big bash for her last Saturday night!

Jeff, Laurie, Chelsea, Chris, Noelle, Gary, Jessica

Chelsea, Cousin Bree
Uncle Scotty, Chelsea
Chelsea, Boyfriend Eric
 Congratulations Chelsea!  We are so proud of you!!!
Chelsea, Mom, Blake, Dad

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

I've had this cookbook for a few years and love it!  Many of the recipes have become family favorites and the tips are so helpful.

The cookbook is divided into sections ranging from appetizers to main dishes to desserts and even beverages.  I will be featuring a new recipe from my cookbook stash each week starting today!

The goal is to make recipes I have never tried before.

My motivation is three-fold.

First, I am a firm believer in trying new things (even if it's a recipe).

Second, I hope to inspire you into trying something new, whether it's cooking or something crazy like sky diving.  Let's just see where this takes us...

Third, trying new recipes makes one a better cook.  Working with new or unusual ingredients can expand your recipe repertoire and your palette. The next time you decide to "wing it" in the kitchen, you may just come up with something fantastic based on a new ingredient/recipe you have recently tried.

Today's recipe came out of necessity.  I had some overly ripe bananas that were calling to me.

My go to recipe would be banana bread.  But in the spirit of trying something new, I found this recipe for banana chip snack cake.

Banana Chip Snack Cake
      2   cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2   teaspoons baking powder
   1/4   teaspoon salt
1 1/4   cups sugar
      8   tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
      2   large eggs, at room temperature
      2   very ripe large bananas, peeled and mashed (1 cup)
   1/2   cup whole milk, at room temperature
      1   teaspoon vanilla extract
   3/4   cup semisweet chocolate chips
* 3/4   chopped walnuts (optional)
* 1/4   cup raw sugar (optional)

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat an 8-inch-square cake pan with vegetable oil spray.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

2.  Beat the sugar and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.  Beat in the bananas, milk, and vanilla.

3.  Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture until no streaks of flour remain.  Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

4.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle with the raw sugar if desired.  Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached, 55 to 65 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack about 2 hours before serving.


Notes and tips from the cook...

*The last step says to cool the cake for 2 hours before serving.  That would never happen at my house and I'm guessing the same for most of you!  Our cake had a chance to cool for about 15 minutes tops.  It was fantastic, nice and warm!

*I love to tweak a recipe.  My additions to this were the walnuts and the raw sugar.  Using half whole wheat flour and half white flour would also be good in this recipe.

*Also, I never even read the part about rotating the cake half way through until I started typing the recipe for this post.  It turned out just fine without the rotation.

Happy cooking,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Here's What's Up...

We have all asked or been asked this question in many forms...

What's up?
What's new?
What's happening?
What have you been up to?

The standard response to this simple yet slightly unsettling question?

"Not much, what have you been up to?"

What's up seems to require a bit more than the typical answer.
Why not take this as a challenge?  Think of something interesting to say.  Keep in mind that the person asking  may not expect or want a lengthy response. 

So the challenge here is to give a good answer. A little tidbit of information while staying within the social parameters of the question.

In other words keep it simple. 

Next time someone asks you what's up, what will you say?

By the way...

What's up? (I just had to ask)...