Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom and Onion Marsala Sauce

This was a fun and relaxing weekend. Enjoyed time together and made sure to make the most of it. Even with Mike working Friday and Saturday we had fun.

Saturday night I went out to dinner with a friend because we are not old and cannot be going to bed at 8pm on a Saturday, it's just not cool.

So we ate Greek salads at the local Italian restaurant. Mike razzed us for that numerous times. Oh well, it sounded good.

Sunday Mike and I made cheddar & bacon coated chicken tenders. It's a Betty Crocker recipe but neither of us thought the coating stuck very well and that cheese and bacon do not work well as a chunky coating. It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't anything phenomenal. We also made baked steak fries fresh from a real potato, nothing frozen there. We also had a bagged bacon Caesar salad for a veggie. Then our friend, who I had had dinner with the night before, came over and brought ice cream and cookies for dessert.

The company made up for the lack luster dinner. Still, can't complain when the food is decent and the company is great. It was nice to get together with someone and just chat and have a good time.

Mike and I also went turkey hunting this weekend. As I am not licensed in the state of Missouri I just went along for the ride. First hunting outing ever. To say the least, I had a blast.

Then after hunting, we ate, then proceeded to go for a run, with the crazy sidewalks in that small town Mike resides in.

I say the person who put this in was drunk. Go home sidewalk man, you're drunk!

Then he lounged and took a nap while I finished phase two of my workout, Rush Fit. If you haven't figured this out by now, I'm a bit of a fitness nut and actually enjoy working out, mostly running. I guess that's why I can just about eat anything I want.

So after naps and workouts we decided dinner was needed and that we needed to use up the pork cutlet we had plus buy more to make sure we had enough to go around.

Needless to say the word "schnitzel" came to mind when thinking about a pounded out pork cutlet. I must say that is the word of the blog today "cutlet."

So off we went whisked away to Walmart for more ingredients and then back to make dinner.

We paired this with mashed potatoes (we did instant but making old fashioned mashed potatoes with some baby reds would have been much better.) Then we also had some cinnamon applesauce which was homemade.

Take about 5 apples, granny or pretty much your favorite apple. Peel and Chop. Add all into a quart sized pot with 1/2 cup of water and 1 tsp of apple pie spice. Simmer for 15 minutes then add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp brown sugar and simmer for another 5, stirring occasionally throughout process.  Then mash it all up as chunky or as fine as you like and enjoy.

In the mean time, check out this deliciousness

Pork Schnitzel
Via: Taste of Home Cookbook
Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

6 pork sirloin cutlets (1/2 inch thick & 4 oz each)
1/2 cup all -purpose flour
2 tsp seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk **I left this out - accidentally - but it turned out just fine. So if you can't have milk or just want to omit we are proof that it works fine.
1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs, plain **of course I would say to use only 1 cup since we had A LOT left over
2 tsp paprika
6 Tbsp vegetable/olive/grapeseed oil **We used grapeseed because we felt like it, worked well. Use what you have and what works best for you

Flatten pork cutlets to 1/4 inch thickness **Or you can be like us and go to your local wally-world and pick up pre-tenderized pork cutlets that are already 1/4 inch thick. Less work and no pounding required**

Combine flour, seasoned salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl (large enough to dip your cutlets in). In another bowl beat eggs and milk. In a third bowl combine bread crumbs and paprika.

Create an assembly line station that ends in a plate to place battered pork. **I did two cutlets at a time because that's what fit in the pan to cook.**

Dip pork into flour first, then egg mixture, then into crumb mixture.

Cook pork in oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. **Again, we cooked only two at a time to prevent crowding** Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes until tender. Remove to a cookie sheet lined in foil with a wire rack on top. Place in a 150-200 degree oven to keep warm and crisp.

Serve with a dill sauce or you can serve with a onion, mushroom Marsala sauce.

We did the following:
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 pkg (8 oz) white button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine
1 pat beef broth (it comes in this jelly like state and you boil it in about 1/2 a cup of water to create broth - or you could just use 1/2 cup of beef broth)

Saute onions over medium heat until just translucent. Then remove from pan. Put beef broth in pan and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add Marsala, mushrooms and onions. Everybody in the pool!

Cook over medium low heat until starting to reduce. You can add a slurry (corn starch mixed with COLD water) 1 tsp at a time to reach desired thickness.

Now go out and cook!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Yesterday was tragic on all levels.

I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that someone would terrorize a marathon. The fact that my sport has now been terrorized makes me angry. This was a day for rejoicing, breaking your personal best times and uniting together from nations across the globe to one purpose. A time honored tradition in the heart of Boston.

I'm the runner of the blog and I ran my heart out for Boston yesterday after work. Today I will again, I don't care how sore I get or if I'm tired, if it's raining or shining. I'm going to run every day for those affected. I will not be terrorized. I will not let this shake me or my sport.

You have to remember that fear is what this was meant to create. Fear to go out, be who you are, and live your life. You cannot do that. You cannot let fear consume you. You have to stand up and push forward. You have to look fear in the eye and take it head on and push past it.

Terrorist (foreign or domestic) want to create mass fear and chaos. Don't let them. Don't be afraid to go to your upcoming races, gatherings, meetings, trips, and vacations. That is exactly what you should do. Keep living life.

I am sending thoughts and prayers to all the victims, the families of the victims, the runners, and all the first responders. Those people who ran TO the scene instead of from it. Those people who saw more carnage than anyone should ever see. I want to hug them all.

I can just hear certain song lyrics running through my head

"Justice will be served and the battle will rage, this bog dog will fight when you rattle his cage."
"And justice is the one thing you should always find, you've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line."

I pray justice is served to those responsible. created this amazing picture to be used as a race bib, a second if you're running. I will run with this all week. I will also make a shirt for my Warrior Dash run next weekend.


Today I'm wearing a race shirt for Boston, I am also dedicating every run this month to Boston.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fluffy Sandwich/Snacking Bread (Vegan actually) - for your tax day woes

Happy Tax Day, Pay Day and Spring Turkey Season Opening Day!

So we are back to the bread, yes I love my homemade bread. Of course this time it was not an attempt at my favorite sandwich shops bread. Of course, I still wish I knew the recipe. If only I could bribe the man that owns the place. Maybe with my super secret Gooey Butter Cupcake recipe. Who knows, I probably won't ever find it or figure it out just on the basis that I'm not a food chemist, of course I'm sure I could buy the bread and find a laboratory to break it down for me, I do know people that probably know people who could get this done.

Who knows.

I digress - back to fluffy sandwich bread, or in my case, snack bread. I really should go out and buy a full size loaf pan. I had one that my mother had given me but the coating was flaking off and causing my bread to have flecks of non stick goodness ick on them. Not cool, not cool at all. So I even tried using foil and anything else I could to line the pan - honestly if it's not needed it's a pain.

So, I tossed the pan, I shall buy a new one sometime. But I had to buy running shoes first and so I did.

This bread was appealing in the fact that the ingredient list is not terribly long and the process is straight forward. I also liked that it had oats in it instead of just flour. This recipe also does not require that you use bread flour. SCORE!!

I would love to be able to spend all my money buying different flours and spices and doo-dads for the kitchen but alas, I'm not a millionaire. Probably never will be, working on it. Of course I doubt that I will ever be famous either - not that I want to be, I really to like my privacy and I just can't see paparazzi swarming to my humble one bedroom brownstone apartment in the suburbs of Kansas. Just doesn't seem to fit the area. So I will work hard and live happy.

Speaking of happy, this weekend was one of those, how Mike and I say, "off" weekends. A weekend where we do not see each other. Of course there are many reasons to why this weekend was that way. 1. He has Spring turkey season starting today. 2. I had a race this weekend, Color Me Rad 5k for Special Olympics. 3. I had a family friend coming to my home town, and I have to see her when I can, she lives in Minnesota.

So 9 AM I was off running a 5k by myself, because my friends don't seem to like to run races. Even fun ones where you get pelted with colored powder and sprayed with colored liquid, which is sooooo not cool on a 35 degree morning. But I have done worse on a 35 degree morning, like plunge myself through a giant mud pit. 

I took the shirt off after the race and found that my stomach looked as if I had been beaten with a baseball bat, it took a shower and a washcloth of rubbing alcohol to get all the color staining off my legs, stomach and armpit. Yes in my armpit, on my left side because that's mostly where the color hit. Left lane was for the faster folks like me. 

Even though the race wasn't time I ran it in about 27 minutes, would have been faster if I had not had to wade through about 300 people to finally get to the starting line itself. Then dodging people who thought they were fast but weren't. I felt like a super fast runner with all the people I was passing, but in reality I know I'm around average when it comes to time. 

So back to bread right? I'm sure you really don't care about my running.

So this bread, starts off like any other bread. Flour, yeast, salt, water, oats, oil, and a touch of sugar.

Bring it all together in the mixer until you get a dough to come together, or in my case, cling to the hook.

Then you have to let this baby rise - twice. The recipe gave a trick to this, turn your oven to 400 degrees F for about 2 minutes. Then turn off. Stick your dough in, covered with plastic wrap in your greased bowl and let rise for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours until doubled. Then you take it out, knead it again and then repeat this for 1 hour.

Then you bake this loveliness. And it comes out with a beautiful golden crust and a soft texture. It's marvelous. The brown sugar just accents the bread perfectly.

I turned this into about 10 servings, I'm sure in an actual loaf pan it would be more like 12. But seeing as I'm the odd ball, I used a 10 inch cake pan, much like I do for corn bread, and baked. Turned out great for what I do since sandwiches are not something I'm totally keen on every day. I like them but I generally don't make a lot of them at home actually. Strange since it's such an easy meal. Oh well, I would just as soon eat bread toasted with a little butter or fresh out of the oven with a little jam.

Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread (Vegan) - From Averie Cooks
Prep Time: 15 min          Cook Time: 30 min          Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Makes: One 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 cup boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick or instant)
2 cups all-purpose flour (bread flour may be used and will create a heartier, chewier bread)
1/4 cup water (from tap, not hot, not cold)
2 to 3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil (I used 2 myself)
2 Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
2 1/3 tsp instant dry yeast (one 1/4 oz package - Averie and I both use Red Star Platinum)
pinch of salt, optional and to taste

1. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over oatmeal, stir to combine. Set aside and let cool until temperature reaches around 130 degrees F, about 15 minutes. (The yeast Averie and I use necessitates this temperature; allow mixture to cool to the 100 degree F range for other types of instant dry yeast, or to package directions)

2. To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, (or a large mixing bowl and knead by hand for about 10 minutes) combine flour, 1/4 cup water, oil, brown sugar, yeast, and cooled oatmeal. Knead 5 to 7 minutes on low speed, or until a moist, shaggy dough forms. The dough is fairly moist and sticky, but resist adding additional flour, unless it's so moist that it won't combine. Conversely, if it is too dry, add up to 1/4 cup water. Erring on the side of too moist is always preferable to dry in bread making.

3. After kneading, turn the dough out into a large, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size. Create a warm environment by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F for 1 to 2 minutes, then shutting off. This creates a 90 degree F -ish warm spot. Slide the bowl in and wait while the yeast works. Just make sure your oven is off.

4. After the dough has doubled, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured surface, or silpat and knead it for about 3 minutes. With your fingers, shape it into a 10-inch by 6-inch rectangle, just eyeball it. The long side should be slightly longer than the baking pan. Then, fold the short sides in so that the dough is about 8 inches in length. Roll to form a tight cylinder. There's not much to roll, about 3 turns. Optionally, when rolling, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger. Or go savory with dill, chives or thyme.

5. Spray an 8x4-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or spray with non-stick spray and add flour to pan and shake out extra, and place the cylinder in the pan, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 60 to 75 minutes.

6. In the last minutes of rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until domed, golden, and puffy. When tapped, it should sound hollow. The internal temperature should reach 210 degrees F. Let bread cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing (of course if your name is Sarah or Mike, you can't help but eat bread when it's fresh out of the oven with some delicious butter.)

Store bread by wrapping in plastic wrap, be sure the bread is completely cooled. Then place in a zip lock bag and it will keep fresh for 5 days. Bread freezes well and can be stored similarly in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Now go out and cook and bake. Have to cook something to eat with this bread. Like eggs and bacon. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bacon & Onion Pull Apart Bread

The weekend is coming, the weekend is coming!!!!  Also, Spring turkey season is coming on Monday.

Mike will be out early in the morning to go and outsmart a Tom or Jake and bring him back as a trophy, bragging rights to his neighbor, and dinner. :) You will probably be able to find notes and stories about his first turkey hunt of the season at his hunting blog "Fowl Mouthed Therapy."

So this last week I have spent hunting down Peeps, yes Peeps. Those fluffy sugar covered marshmallow confections shaped to look like rabbits and chicks. Yes, those. My mother didn't buy any for Easter this year (goodness knows why!?) so I had to go hunt them down. Unfortunately it seems that Walmart dumped them and ran out FAST! So I had sort of given up on them and came to terms that the next opportunity I would get to have peeps would be July for the 4th.

But wait!!!! On a routine run to Hyvee for a quick food pick up I came across the mother load.

10 cents for the chicks and smaller options of bunnies and 25 cents for the larger groupings of peeps. YES YES YES!!! I bought about 10. But hey, a girl has gotta have her peeps from Easter, it's just not Easter without them.

So that was one of the major accomplishments of this week, I know, I'm totally a thrilling person who lives such a fascinating life.


Since this was a more restful week in preparation for a 5k I will be running tomorrow I decided I would make a few things. My oven has a bit lonely lately with my lackadaisical approach to baking this past few months.

What I chose to bake? Bacon & Onion Pull Apart Bread. I have never made a pull apart bread for one and the idea of bacon and onion in bread was just intriguing and such a wonderful idea.

The ingredient list was not terribly extensive nor were the directions complicated. Just time consuming, as any bread usually is - unless you have a bread machine. Even then it's time consuming having to wait for the silly thing to finish.

I like things that are simple to throw together. Such as tossing in flour, milk, sugar, eggs, yeast, salt, milk and butter together to create a lovely dough that will soon rise and create a puffed fluffy dough ready and willing for the filling. (ignore my naked foot in that picture above there).

So the main reason I wanted to make this was the bacon, I mean come on, it's BACON! I love bacon, I really do. To think at one time I wouldn't eat this delicious salty and savory strip of meat. I mean, what was wrong with me!? If you don't like bacon, there's something wrong - you need to get your head checked. Who can resist a food that cheers for you as it cooks and just crisps up so nicely as well as accents just about any dish perfectly. Salad, sandwiches, casseroles, potatoes, sides, veggies, and even cupcakes! It can also be eaten for every meal and snack, so I would say this is the perfect food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert. Yes please.

So then there's the onion. A large onion, caramelizing in the bacon grease. Which I have no finesse for caramelizing onions I suppose, as you can see here:

As you can see, I burned a few pieces. I just need more practice I suppose. Or let Mike take care of the onions like I normally do. We really need a place together, this way I can avoid onions in the future.

Soon you have to chop up your bacon so that it's in nice bit sized pieces to sprinkle all over the lovely dough. How gorgeous is that bacon?

So now we have this beautiful golden egg-y dough. It was quite lovely for bread. I had to stretch it out and try to create square out of it so I could sprinkle my bacon and onion and then cut into strips, which then get cut into squares.

Having to pile this into a loaf pan (in my case a mini loaf pan) is tricky and the help of a bottle of Dawn dish soap and a can of cooking spray helped hold my pan upright on end so I could do so.

But in the end it's worth the pain of having to constantly readjust the pan so it doesn't go sliding off the counter and to the floor. But in the end it should kinda look like this in the pan. Then you bake and wait.

In the end it comes out gloriously golden brown and smelling AH-MAZING! Talk about my apartment smelling like I was just making breakfast. I'm sure the neighbors are jealous. Way better than the fish smell that used to overtake before the crazies moved out.

And when it's cool enough to pull from the pan, you have this, a nugget of delicious, bacon, onion, and dough. The recipe is from Yummly and they suggested serving with some maple syrup. I tried it and was ok, I preferred some nice salted spreadable butter. It was a heart attack in a bite that way but was soo delicious. Will work on my onions next time.

Bacon Onion Pull Apart Bread - by Yummly
Serves about 8-16 (depends on how many pieces you decide is a serving.
Makes 1 regular loaf or 2 mini loaves

4 Tbsp unsalted butter/margarine
2/3 cup milk (I used skim)
3 cups all purpose flour - divided (I used unbleached)
2 Tbsp granulated white sugar
2 1/4 tsp (usually 1 pkt) active dry yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs (I brought mine to room temperature - you can do this by letting sit out or placing in hot tap water for a few minutes)

10 slices bacon, prepared and chopped (about a 12 oz pkg)
1 large onion, sliced
olive oil, if needed (I had plenty of bacon grease)
dash of salt
sugar, optional

Make the dough:
1. Melt the butter together with the milk over low heat on the stove top until butter is melted. Remove from heat.
2. Combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Add your butter-milk mixture and mix until your flour is moist. Mix in your eggs one at a time. Add the remaining cup of flour and mix it in until a soft dough forms. Knead it for a few minutes more. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a light cloth, and let sit in a cool place for about an hour.

Make the Filling:
3. Cook your bacon. Pan-fry your bacon (or cook however you prefer). Set your cooked slices aside on a paper towel and let it sit. Reserve the bacon drippings to caramelize the onions (or just use olive oil if you prefer).
4. Caramelize your onions. Slice up a whole onion. Make sure the bottom of your pan is coated with reserved bacon drippings (or olive oil) and toss in your onions. Sprinkle them with salt and let them cook over medium heat for about 30-45 minutes. NOTE: you may need to turn the heat down on your stove top or add more oil if the onions are drying out too quickly. You'll need to stir them and monitor them closely. Scraping them up off the pan if they burn, and usually with more frequency toward the end of the process.

Assemble the bread:
5. On a well flour board (with a well floured rolling pin), roll out the dough into a very large rectangle or square (20in x 12in or 16in x 16in at least is probably good). The dough is very stretchy, especially when you're putting it into the loaf pan, so more is better.
6. Spread your caramelized onions and bacon across the entire surface of the dough, even up to the edges.
7. Turn your loaf pan onto it's narrow side. Slice your dough into long strips (probably about 4 inches wide) and stack those strips on top of each other. Very gently cut the stacked strips into squares (or rectangles) and pile those stacked squares into the loaf pan until you have got a Jenga like, filled pan.

Bake the bread:
8. In an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake your bread for 30-40 minutes (or until it's very golden brown on top - but not burnt).
9. Remove it from the oven and let it sit in the pan for at least 10 minutes before shifting it out.
10. Once the bread has cooled a little, serve and enjoy.

Can drizzle with maple syrup, spread with butter, jam, or eat on it's own. You can even tweak and add herbs and spices to the dough. You're choice, get creative.

Now go out and cook!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cookie Experiment & Apple Kuchen & Casserole

So this is your two-fer post. I'm, 1. too tired to make it two posts and 2. It's late.

So this last few weekends, I guess from the week before Easter to this weekend has been full and busy with back and forth and family gatherings.

Honestly some of the end of March is a blurr. I have some photos to remind me of what I purchased that week but not much else haha. I guess the running is using my brain power now and taking over.

I did buy grapes not long ago but found that these grapes were hulk sized.

That is an average sized spoon. Can you say HUGE. That was the word of the day one day the week after St. Patrick's but before Easter. I bought these Hulk grapes and then at work saw two HUGE vultures just chilling out on top of the office building I work in. Came back from lunch and was just standing in the parking lot staring with mouth agape and saying, oh my goodness those are HUGE birds! I'm serious, when they look big from the ground floor of a 5 story building you know they are big birds.

So then I got bored one night and decided it was time to experiment. I kept seeing people online using Easter candy to create new and fun treats. So, since I lacked candy I had to go buy some. So I went and purchased the candy I know Mike likes and decided to play with my mom's chocolate chip cookie recipe.

So I took my mom's basic chocolate chip cookie recipe is actually pretty close to the Toll House recipe with a few tweaks in measurements. Crazy huh? I think everybody's chocolate chip cookie recipes are based on the Toll House recipe but then tweaked for preference.

So I made the basic recipe, then I added about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter. Then I added chopped up Peanut Butter Squared Snickers. So delicious on their own and then to add it to a cookie. Then I baked according to directions.

After I took some powdered sugar, butter (room temperature), a package of Swiss Miss dark chocolate cocoa, and a little vanilla and made a frosting. Then when the cookies cooled, (they were still soft and had a great chewy caramel bend to them, I frosted them with the chocolate frosting. Mike said the frosting texture wasn't quite right. A little grainy, yes. But that could have been solved by melting in a little milk before adding, then I would not have had to add any milk.

Basic frosting recipe is as follows: (I use for cookies and cakes)
1 stick soft, room temperature butter/margarine
1 tsp - 2 tsp vanilla (or desired flavoring)
8 - 16 oz powdered sugar (depends on how much frosting you want
1-3 Tbsp milk (depends on consistency you are going for - cookie or cake or a glaze)

Mix all together in mixer and frost as needed.

So after making the cookies and sharing with Mike I decided to make something else, I think my baking bug is finally coming back. I got burned out there for a while. So I decided I needed to use the apples Dad had given me that were taking up a good portion of space in my freezer. So I pulled those out and thought about what I could make.

I had been eyeballing my great grandmother's apple kuchen recipe for a while but just didn't take the time to do it. It's definitely not a 10 minute project. More like 2 1/2 hours total. Definitely something to plan to do. I'm sure you can make the dough the night before and place in the fridge after proofing to save and then bake the next morning for breakfast. I think of this as one of those special breakfasts or for dessert. It's delicious and has some family history with it.

First you have to make the dough, with flour, yeast, sugar, butter, water, egg, cinnamon, and salt. Then once it's put together, you knead it out into a nice ball and let it rest.

this is what happens when
I don't put the splash guard on my mixer
After you let the dough ball rise you have to punch it down in the center and let rise again. Mind you, rise times are 1 hour for the first and around 30 min to 1 hour for the second.

Once dough has risen twice and is nice and puffy you have to spread it out into a pan, the recipe says to divide into two pieces and then add toppings and bake. I chose to leave it in one and spread the dough out in a 9 1/2 by 11 inch cookie sheet.

Then you add your toppings, in my case - apples with a little flour, sugar, and cinnamon tossed together for a delicious flavor combo. Recipe says to arrange neatly. I did my best but would have preferred to have very thinly sliced apples but I made due with what I had.

So then you bake for about an hour and then it looks a little like this. Once cooled top with either powdered sugar dusted all over or make a thin glaze and drizzle. I chose to glaze it.

Hulda Bader's Kuchen Recipe:

5-6 cups flour
2 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups hot tap water (120 F - 130 F)
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
Salad oil/vegetable oil (I used Pam spray)

Combine 2 cups flour, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add softened butter. Add water into bowl all at once. Beat with mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and 1 cup flour. Beat at high speed 1 minute. Gradually stir in just enough flour with wooden spoon to make soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Then onto floured board round into a ball. Knead 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Brush with tiny amount of oil. Cover with Saran Wrap then a towel. Let rise on board. After 1 hour, push down in center. Leave to rise again (about another 30 min to an hour). Divide and shape. Place on greased bakery sheet. Brush with melted butter, let rise again. (30 min to an hour). Bake at 350 F degrees for 30 min.

Fruit Kuchen: roll out dough, brush with melted butter and add fruit toppings.

Apple Kuchen: slice apples thin. Mix them with cinnamon and sugar, and a little flour. Arrange neatly on dough. Sprinkle again with cinnamon and sugar where needed.

Rolled Kuchen: Roll out dough, brush with melted butter. Chop desired amount of nuts, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar. Roll up into log. Place on bakery sheet and brush with butter.

After cooled, drizzle with icing, top with cherries and walnuts.

This is the lady who made this deliciousness. Mrs. Hulda Bader. (my great grandmother)

So I took this to work with me the next day and it was an instant hit with all the coffee drinkers. People ask for the recipe, I send them here. ;) Easier than sending out 100 emails of the recipe that I never bring to work with me.

So then we hit Easter. Mike wanted me to make Rockin' Guac, a recipe sponsored by rotel. I was cool with that since I know my family will eat just about anything and this would be good to munch on before the ham and German potato salad would be ready.

It's a super simple recipe.

1/2 cup chopped onion (red)
3 avocados, ripe
1 can rotel, mild or original
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Mash all together.

Mike says it should be a 2 avocado to 1 can ratio, where I think maybe using mild rotel and adding a tomato might help. Definitely had to add more salt and pepper. I tend to under season with salt just to be on the safe side. Something totally fixable.

But it was a hit, mom enjoyed as did Mike and myself. Not sure if I saw dad take a dip at it or not. I only went home with a heaping half cup. So I think this was a good one. A little chunky but good.

Mom made a delicious dinner of honey glazed spiral cut ham, German potato salad, some olives and pickles as a part of the dinner (much like what we do for Thanksgiving). Then I brought the vegetable. Carrot casserole. Mike enjoys this so much he even eats seconds. It's tasty and you WILL want seconds. Of course this batch came out a bit lumpy, I think it's because I used baby carrots instead of whole carrots chopped up. Boiling baby carrots to a tender mush takes FOR-EV-ER! Do not do it unless you have a food processor. Which is what I want for Christmas or my birthday, you hear that family? I WANT A FOOD PROCESSOR, at least 5 cups capacity and not a proctor silex brand. Preferably Black and Decker or kitchen aid. Yes, this is what I have been asking for every year for about 3 years now. Why can't they seem to remember?

Oh well...guess I'll just have to buy it myself.

Easter went well, normal family gathering. Food, chatter, Easter basket hunt, Nerf shootout.

Speaking of Nerf shootout, which Mike and I did in the living room of my folks house and had a great time and had many laughs from everyone, I went to go practice for trap the day before Easter. Took a friend to come watch, he had a good time and was fascinated with it.

Wish me luck on May 11, that is when the corporate challenge trap shooting competition is. I am in it as the female shooter for my company. So nervous. I average between 15 and 18 per round out of 25. I would love to get closer to 20 but I need to practice more. Ammunition is not cheap, however.

So now we come to this last weekend, we finally made it to our favorite local bar and checked out the updates they had done, new floor, new seating, new TVs, and new menu. We had the pepper jack bites, which they kept from the old menu, and then Mike had the Saint's Burger (signature burger with bacon, cheese, and lettuce and tomato and onion and a Jack Daniels sauce. Looked amazing. I had a grilled chicken bowl. It had grilled chicken, shredded jack cheese, corn, mashed potato and gravy. It was quite delicious. We hit it up on the right night too since it was $2 anything behind the bar. We each had a drink with our dinner and called it a night.

Now we come to this weekend. Last night was the travel time to Mike's and today we slept in and kind of bummed around. A rest day. Then I made dinner. A Mac & Cheese Chicken Veggie Casserole. It was ok, not fabulous but edible and tasty.

It needed more flavor pop, chicken needed salt and pepper and the cheese needed to be more spread out through the pasta. But all in all, something we can improve upon to have as a quick and easy family dinner staple.

The recipe is simple and comes from Country Crock.

Easy Mac & Cheese Veggie Chicken Casserole:
4 Tbsp country crock spread, melted, divided
1 cup 2% milk (used 1%)
8 oz dry rotini pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups diced COOKED chicken breast
4 cups assorted frozen vegetables, thawed (used California mix)
2 1/4 cup finely shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

If using raw chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until 80% done. Then dice.

Cook past according to package directions, about 7 min in boiling water.

Combine 3 Tbsp Country Crock spread, milk, cooked rotini, cooked chicken, thawed vegetables and cheddar cheese in a large bowl and spread into an 8 inch baking dish/casserole dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and remaining margarine in a small bowl; sprinkle over top of casserole.

Bake until heated through and crumbs are toasted. About 30 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Like I said, it needs more flavor. Seasoning. Maybe more salt and pepper and some garlic powder. Something to round it out and give it some depth. Not bad though.

Tomorrow is turkey scouting day, will also be a RushFit day and maybe a good 1 - 2 mile run. Shall see I suppose.

So what is in store for the upcoming weekends? Well, Mike will be turkey hunting, so hopefully we will have some upcoming wild turkey recipes for you. Also, I will be in the Color Me Rad race for KC next weekend and then April 27 I will be in the Warrior Dash 5k. In May I have trap on the 11th and then on the 12th I have a 5k walk with my mom for Mother's Day. So the upcoming months are busy and packed full of fun, adventure, and mystery *as usual right ;) *

So get out there, have fun, and go cook something!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

St. Patrick's Day with Colcannon

So we have been totally slacking on putting up blogs, I'm sorry. Life happens, and by the time I remember I have taken pictures for the blog it's about 2 weeks after the fact. So yeah, that's what happens.

So let's start with St. Patrick's Day. Can't say Mike and I are the typical, go out and drink green beers type. We aren't ones to party on a regular basis, you can usually find us on a weekend watching a movie all cozied up on the couch rather than out at a bar. And of course St. Patrick's day is not something to be out in necessarily, depends on where you are I suppose. Though people watching is hilarious. I think that is one of our favorite things to do. Going to Walmart alone is a trip and a half for that. But holidays where people promote drinking - you're bound to find something hilarious on the streets.

a little potato love
So typical cuisine for March 17th is corned beef and cabbage. Well Mike and I did an adaptation of that, we did pork instead, a tenderloin. Then did colcannon for the potatoes and cabbage. I think this is one of my new favorite ways to eat potatoes. Bacon, potatoes, and cabbage. It's your starch and veggie all in one.

Colcannon is quite simple really. Bacon, cooked down (they say about 3 slices - I would say use 6, but that's me and I love bacon. We used bacon bits - the real kind by Oscar Mayer, then 1/2 a head of cabbage chopped up and cooked down in just a little water in the microwave (on stove top if you prefer). Then you make mashed potatoes. Potatoes, milk, and butter. Mix everything together once done and then taste and salt and pepper as needed.

I of course love making mashed potatoes from scratch let alone from red potatoes (one of my absolute favorites). So see, colcannon is not hard to make. Just cook everything and mix together. Much like you would with corn and potatoes and gravy.

For the pork, we rubbed it in some garlic sea salt and pepper. Mmm, trust me that Hyvee Garlic Sea Salt is sooooo yummy! Who said store brands suck?

Look at that fabulousness! It was delicious for sure. Of course 9 times out of 10 anything we make is pretty good. We cooked this baby at 350 degrees for about an hour I believe. Pork has to be at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for doneness. Pork is allowed to be a very very light pink inside though - unlike chicken or poultry.

 So this was our dinner, was quite tasty. Pork was cooked just right and the colcannon I think was Mike's favorite piece. I still think it could have used more bacon. But everything could use more bacon.

Now go out and cook! (with more bacon!)