Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time for a recap - where have we been!?

Ok, ok ok, yes we went a little MIA there. 

I can't say we have cooked or baked much, I have gotten into a rut lately of when I want to bake I stick to the norms. Right now norm means making beer bread. I am FINALLY getting through all the beer that was in my fridge that I knew full well I wouldn't be drinking. I've kind of lost my taste for drinking beer on a regular basis, I'm more sophisticated now - thanks to the wonderful Mike - now I drink Jack and diet Coke. (more expensive too). I blame you dear. ;)

So the weekend of Labor day I had made beer bread and was intending to take to Mike's house when I left. Well, it came out great, I almost over cooked it and burned it since I dropped by my local Hyvee and then ran into a friend, whom I cannot talk to for just 10 minutes, it's always about an hour or more with him. So then it dawns on me when I'm talking to him that "OH CRAP! I LEFT MY BREAD IN THE OVEN!" So then I rush home with thoughts of flames coming from my kitchen window. I arrive home to my sauna kitchen and find the bread perfectly baked! *PHEW* Heart attack averted.

So it was perfectly baked and when I let it sit for a few before cutting (I like to slice my bread then keep in my Tupperware to stay fresh so I can just grab a portioned slice and go) Well when I went to slice the bugger it just fell apart on me. That has NEVER happened.

In any event it still tasted good and Mike and the roomie thought it was delicious.

So that Sunday we decided to make a breakfast skillet. It was quite delicious. It was a quinoa veggie skillet with egg and bacon. Bacon is a must.

As much as I like to believe that you need to rinse the quinoa, unless you have a sieve or cheesecloth, it's a pain and will not be done next time. The veggies included: small sweet potato, green and red bell peppers (1/2 each), onion (1 small), garlic (1-2 cloves to taste). Then there was quinoa. A few strips of thick cut bacon for a topping and and egg cooked your favorite way. I prefer my eggs gooey and over easy so it can be sopped up with bread or just drench this skillet to a delicious goo :) Mike likes his over hard, basically a flat hard boiled egg. I have yet to perfect how to do that for him. I WILL do that, I WILL learn to over cook an egg ;) I jest, I don't mind, those eggs are great for sandwiches.

So you add quinoa to the veggies once the veggies are all cooked up (we forgot mushrooms and decided that white potatoes would have been better or even red). Then you have to add chicken stock/veggie stock or beef stock or water (your preference) to the mix and let the quinoa soak it all up. TOOK FOREVER! Well, seemed like it did due to us being hungry and ready and the smell of bacon floating around the kitchen while the bacon bits sat and mocked us from the counter.

The skillet was worth the wait, could have used some salt and pepper to taste and I had a hard time cooking eggs that morning. In the end regular potatoes would be better, won't forget the mushrooms next time and will use more bacon to top it off with. All in all, not bad. (recipe will be below)

So then when I returned home the next week, Tuesday, I felt like making bread, so I did. I made a no yeast bread. Which I was ultimately hoping would be like Mighty Melts bread, but alas, it is not. Still tasted decent and was tasty while it lasted.

I pulled this out of the oven, all excited because it doesn't take long and is super easy to make. It came out quite crusty and quite pointy. Was not fun to cut. Was quite difficult actually. I think this is due to the fact that they didn't have me put any egg wash or butter wash on the outside before baking and also the bake time was a bit long. I even pulled it out a little early. Next time I will egg wash the crust and then butter, like I did, after baking as well.

As you can see it requires buttering the crust after baking, to soften it. Yeah right, still hurt my hands to cut and the bottom crust - OH MY GOODNESS - was almost un-cuttable! I had to work at it. Tasted good though, especially hot out of the oven with some butter. YUM!!

It was really really really dense and tasted like a soft pretzel, more so than the pretzel bread recipe I made a while back. I think I may try turning this into pretzel bread instead next time I get the craving. Either way the recipe is a keeper, just need to tweak it.

Makes 4 servings

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped (will probably double this)
1 small sweet potato, chopped (will use regular potato – red or russet next time)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (will not rinse, was a royal pain)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
4 eggs, cooked your desired way
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to medium-low and add sweet potato, onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic to the skillet, tossing to coat. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring once or twice, until soft.
Add uncooked quinoa to vegetables and stir for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to lightly toast. Pour in stock or water and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-ish minutes until quinoa is cooked through. While quinoa is cooking, prepare eggs as you'd desire. Once cooked, taste and season to your liking.
Serve quinoa in bowls topped with eggs and cooked bacon.

No-Yeast Bread
Makes 12 servings

4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons vinegar (cider or white)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients and mix. Combine water and vinegar. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for two or three minutes (no need to overdo it). Shape into a round (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high), then place on pan. Dip a sharp knife into flour and cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

Bake 40 minutes. Remove, and while hot, glaze with melted or softened butter. The butter glaze gives flavor as well as softens the crust.

(depends on ingredients and brands you use, this is a rough estimation)
165 calories, 1 grams fat, 33 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein per serving. 

Yes, I included nutrition on the bread - why? Mike and I have been doing the "Insanity" workout. I am on my 4th week and he is on his 3rd. I personally can't say I see a difference but then again, that's me. I'm hoping for the best. I can, however, see a difference in Mike. He's looking great. So we are eating healthier (we still have our treats mind you), and exercising hard. I will definitely be ready for my 5k Rugged Maniac in October. 

So folks, that is what we have been up to, Mike cooked pork chops and black bean salsa Friday last weekend but we didn't take pictures. He was so kind to make dinner while I worked out and sweat my booty off. We then pretty much didn't cook after that and ate out, probably not practical. We will see what the weekend holds this weekend since we are off to St. Louis to visit his parents, the official official meeting of the parents. Should be interesting. Granted from what I have seen of his parents, they are a normal mom and dad. It's gonna be easy. We will share what we can from our St. Louis adventure, the local joints and local favorites. Time to get our foodie hats on. 

Go out and cook folks!