Thanksgiving: Every food blogger needs this post

Thanksgiving. That wonderful holiday where everyone eats too much and then passes out on the couch to the sound of football and cheering fans. It’s turned in to a holiday that can sometimes involve a lot of family drama and then the anticipation of fighting the next day over some grandiose deal….even though the day before you were supposed to be thankful for what you already have. Confusing.

Well this Thanksgiving, I spent my day in the kitchen, being thankful that I have friends to surround me while my hunny is away. Otherwise it probably would have been a very lonely holiday. And of course, I got entirely too wrapped up in cooking. To the point that I didn’t take any pictures of the final spread. Including my absolutely gorgeous, brown, crispy and delicious turkey. I would have loved to brag about it, and show it off in all its glory…except it’s gone now. It was devoured, because it was juicy and delicious. I don’t like white meat because it’s usually dry. This wasn’t. I was happy with all portions of the turkey. The photos I do have are from the middle of the day. When we realized we should probably take a couple pictures.

My spread included everything. Turkey, homemade stuffing (mama’s recipe 🙂 ), cranberry relish which I can eat by itself any day of the year, home made bread, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and pineapple (not using canned yams, using actual sweet potatoes), glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, brownies, pecan pie tartlets… mmm delicious.

One of the best ‘adventures’ of the day was the making of the bread. We decided that since I probably already had everything on hand that we were going to need, why not make the bread and save us some money? Great idea. So the bread started out great. Add all the ingredients, and get the kitchen-aid working. Then the instructions said to let it rise, covered, for an hour. Ok, no problem. Punch it down, knead it about five times, flip it on to a floured surface and stretch it out. Then braid it so that you have a loaf, rather than rolls. That sounds awesome. Ms. Kelly and I were very excited about this endeavor. So we did that and set it back to rise for another 30 minutes. Well, when we uncovered it to brush it with the egg/water mixture to ensure it would be golden and delicious, we found our beautiful braided dough had spread out instead of up. Meaning the braid melded back in to the rest of the dough…leaving us with basically foccacia bread. It was still delicious, it still cooked up the way it was supposed to and was great for making paninis…but still. That was not the desired effect. Anyone have any idea why that happened? Hints would be appreciated because I plan on making it again. It almost had a sourdough taste to it. And I love me some sourdough.

Second best thing? Low-calorie dessert. Except for that whole you’re only supposed to have one to keep it low-calorie. Yeah that didn’t happen. We made pecan pie tartlets out of the Eat More of What You Love cookbook. They’re only 200 calories per tartlet. Awesome! Except they are absolutely delicious with whipped cream on top, and two-bites for one. Which make them like Pringles: Once you pop you can’t stop!

Thanksgiving was perfect. A great day. Even if I was missing my best friend, and he was missing his favorite food.

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Muffins, Bread and Breakfast

This weekend was pretty laid back and relaxed, and it was perfect. I got to spend time with my hunny, and made some tasty treats for us to enjoy.

It all started with blueberry muffins. Don’t tell him – but they’re healthy! I got them out of the Eat What You Love  cookbook that I’ve mentioned on here before. They use Splenda with just a little bit of granulated sugar, and they’re just slightly golden when they are done – but they’re moist and the blueberries pop in your mouth. Delicious!

Pair a muffin with some fruit and eggs for breakfast, and you’ve got a fantastically healthy, delicious and energizing breakfast. I even got to eat some of that yummy pineapple I mentioned in my last post.

And then I made this bread. I’m calling it BAM Bread. Banana, Apple and Mango Bread. When I bought the mangoes with the pineapple the other day, I planned on putting it in muffins or something. Well I found a recipe for a Mango Lime Bread. I used that and instead of the “plump golden raisins” it called for, I put in 2 mashed bananas. Baked it for the same amount of time, added everything else the same and it turned out simply beautiful. Oh, and tasty. I wouldn’t post it if it wasn’t tasty.

Here’s the recipe.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

There are only two kinds of soup that absolutely need to be served out of a bread bowl. Clam chowder, and broccoli cheese.

Last night, though it wasn’t as cold as I would have liked for soup, we had home-made broccoli cheese soup – in a bread bowl. I saw a pin from one of my girlfriends for a recipe that was supposed to be better than Panera’s version. Therefore, I had to try it.

The ingredients were simple, and the method was simple, and it was pretty much amazing. Though Panera’s is amazing too. This is just amazing in a different way. This was the first time I have ever used cardamom in cooking, and I enjoyed the flavor. It was a sweet, salty, smoky flavor all at once. I think next time though, I would probably add just a little more nutmeg. I am definitely curious to see what other kinds of recipes use cardamom as well though because I bet they’re pretty tasty.

Surprisingly, the fiance didn’t say there was too much cheese! Go figure. I’ll convert him yet. My next adventure is to learn how to make the bread for the bread bowls. I bought these from Wal-Mart for $3 a piece. Decent deal for the ginormous roll of bread, but I would still like to make my own.

By the way, I got the recipe off Mangio da Sola. Here’s the link to my version. Thanks!

Birthday Goodies

Yesterday was my birthday… the big 23! Not one of those get down and crazy birthdays, but one of my best friends came over for dinner, and that was just fine for me. Not everything has to be extravagant, right?

I decided that I wanted to make dinner on my birthday. Confused mom a little bit. But I like to cook, and I don’t get to do it a lot anymore, so it was a treat for me.

I started off making a Berry Coffee Cake. Now, what I haven’t told you yet, was that this was the second try on this cake. I made it a couple days ago and much to my dismay and frustration, it came out way undercooked. I followed the instructions, may have added a little too much liquid, and the cooking time just wasn’t adequate. Teach me to just eyeball amounts when baking.

What’s cool about this coffee cake is that even though it’s light and fluffy (when you cook it right), and tastes like it should be utterly fat-filled and unhealthy, it came out of a fantastic new cookbook by Marlene Koch, called Eat What You Love. She takes every day recipes that people love (it’s a book filled with comfort food) and makes it healthy. What’s super cool about this cookbook is that she doesn’t substitute flavor for calories. There’s even a paragraph in which she goes into detail about how if substituting a “low-fat” versus “non-fat” item will decrease the level of flavor, she’ll opt for “low-fat.” I like this lady. Thank you Grandpa for introducing me to my new favorite cookbook!

Anyway, I had the first piece with my coffee this morning, and it was delectable and believe it or not, filling! Score for low calorie items! I’ve put in the bibliography and the recipe on the appropriate pages for your cooking pleasure.

And on to dinner. Once again editing one of my favorites, I made a creamy version of my Medling. And since the recipe was requested by my best friend, here it is… Mom said it was a little too spicy for her tastes, but she ate her portion worth, which means it was good enough to overcome the spiciness. The difference here is that I added artichoke hearts, a little bit of parmesan cheese (freshly grated of course) and more sauce than I normally would. Let’s just say there was more goodies than pasta and I was totally OK with that. And of course, I made my favorite garlic bread to go with it. Like I would have it any other way with my obsession for garlic.

Oh yeah, and thanks dad for cleaning up the disaster I made in the kitchen. I really need to learn how to be a cleaner cook. Though it’s not quite as much fun that way…

Christmas

Though Christmas has been over for a week – I hadn’t gotten the chance to post some awesome creations. Now given, I didn’t have but a small part in either of these, but they’re so cool!

Santa bread! Dad made it, from scratch. It’s a little creepy, but it was so good! It made such good sandwiches and spreading some cheese on it was scrumptious.

“Chooo Choooo!!” This was the cutest, coolest thing ever. They’re little individualized cakes that came out a mold, and then topped with about a pound of colorful frosting each. I don’t normally cake, and I really don’t like frosting, but I was licking my fingers during the decoration period. And that tree?? The green part anyway – all me 🙂 No one actually had a piece of the cakes, which was highly disappointing, but they were fun to look at!

Berry Bread

This is the first installment of updating this thing for the first time in a long time…one more to follow.

I really do enjoy having time off where I can make something a little extra. This time it was straight of off the Cooking Channel. On Chuck’s Day Off, he makes this dessert that looks so ridiculously easy, I have to try it. All he does is take berries (he uses fresh, I use frozen), combines them with sugar and then puts them on the stove so they can reduce and create a syrup. This reduces down into a sweet, and slightly tart, syrup that is used to create the base for the bread pudding-like dessert. And let me just say, it tastes really, really good on waffles. So the next step is to cut crust off of bread, soak one side in the syrup, and then put it in a bowl lined with plastic wrap, syrup side out. When that’s all done, so that you’ve practically created another bowl with the bread, put the berries, strained slightly, in the middle of the bread bowl, and then top it off with more bread. Basically making a lid.

The tricky part, for me at least, was finding something heavy to put on top of this creation, because it needs to be weighted down and left in the fridge for 8 or more hours. That’s what the guy on Chuck’s Day Off said, and I only let mine sit for about 6 hours. Trust me, let it sit for 8. Then you basically flip it on to a plate, and cut it like a cake. Tasty dessert.

*NOTE* When storing this dessert, make sure that is in a bowl or something deep, because as it sits for a day or so, the syrup starts to leak out and if its not in a deep dish, it will attack the inside of your fridge.