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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yogurt Chocolate Chip Scones

When I think Scones I think of coffee and when I think of coffee I think of sharing conversation with girlfriends. Its as if the scones were calling out to me "Bake me for OCF." OCF is short for Officers Christian Fellowship. My friend Tree whos house we have the bible study at always has a fresh pot of coffee brewing and let me tell you, after a long day of chasing after an incredibly talented rolling infant, that is just what I need.

Girlfriend - check
Coffee - check
Scones - check!

Only problem was...I was out of soymilk and by that time I was not going to run to the store. Darn it! I wanted those scones! I had to improvise. Hmmm..yogurt...dairy. Milk...dairy. I'll take my chances. I've baked with yogurt before to make a marble quickbread and that turned out pretty tasty so it should be the same right? Here's hoping!

It turned out pretty good actually. The yogurt gave it a more chewy, cake-like mouthfeel than milk does but it was SO soft, you couldn't help but eat an entire one. Well, I couldn't help but eat an entire scone. lol. So if you want to give these yogurty scones a try let me know what you think.
2 C A.P Flour
1/3 C granulated sugar
2 ts baking powder
1/8 ts salt
1/3 C butter, unsalted, diced and chilled
1 egg beaten
1 ts vanilla
1/2 C organic plain yogurt
1 C chocolate chips
granulated sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Grease a 9-inch cake pan
Combine all the dry ingredients (except the sugar for sprinkling) in a bowl and then cut the butter into the flour.
Combine the yogurt, egg and vanilla and ad to flour mixture and fold gently. Do not overwork.
Add in Chocolate chips
Pat into the cake pan and sprinkle granulated sugar on the top.
Cut into 8 wedges
Bake for 15-10 minutes

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seedy bread

So in my previous post I had mentioned how I've been baking bread instead of buying bread from the grocery store. The breads that I had made thus far where all using white flour and all tended to be a little too dry for my liking. I'm not sure if it is the recipes or if its the white flour but I thought I would make my own recipe to see if I could fix the problem.
First off, I decided to make a healtheir bread using half wheat and half white flour for a nuttier taste as well. I didn't want it to be just some plain boring ole wheat bread, so I added flaxseed for added flavor and since I have IBS this helps my digestive system regulate better. I also put in some poppyseeds for a splash of color and I threw in 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce to see if it would help put moisture in the bread. Also, I've started using Agave nectar in some of my baking and to be honest, I love it SO much more than regular sugar! So I added some agave nectar for a hint of sweetness and to help preserve the bread a little longer. It came out really well and it is such a soft bread and I don't feel as bad eating more of it because it is made from wheat. ;-) I'm a carb girl that is for sure!
(2 lb loaf)
1 1/2 C warm water
1 Tbs olive oil
3 TBs Agave nectar
1/2 ts salt
2 1/4 C Whole wheat flour
1 1/4 C A.P flour
1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 Tbs flaxseed
1 1/2 Tbs poppyseeds
2 ts actie dry yeast
Put ingredients into bread machine in order listed. Oh so delicious!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Useless Bay Coffee

The boys and I went up to Langley just south of Oak Harbor, about a 45 minute drive from our house to meet up with my mom and stepdad for breakfast while they were up in Seattle for an art show. From the second we drove down 2nd street in Langley, I noticed the amazing Useless Bay Coffee Company and that they also had live music and roasted their own coffee! I whispered to Brandon that I needed to check this place out after breakfast and wished that we had actually had breakfast there instead.
Since I am still nursing, I only drink decaf because I usually in all honesty drink about 5 cups in one sitting and I don't want to overload Benton on caffiene. lol. Anywhos I got their Organic Decaf Swiss Water blend and I seriously forgot how good coffee can just make me melt and make my morning THAT much more enjoyable. I wake up and look forward to after my workout when I can read my bible and enjoy my comforting cup(s) of coffee. :-) makes me get through my day that is for sure. I love starbucks but Useless Bay Coffee stumps them for sure. I can't wait until I can purchase their beans online because with the baby, it will be hard to drive 45 mintutes just to get coffee though Brandon and I have already decided to return to Langley and discover the precious little town some more when we get a chance when he's home again.
Until then, I wonder how long this bag will last me. Probably not for very long. Bummer!

nana smores cupcakes!

Ever since Brandon got back from deployment, I've gotten my baking groove back. And I'm lovin it! Granted, I end up eating more of what I make than Brandon does. I don't know how he has so much self control! I'm like an eating machine. If its around, I'll eat it. I've actually started making bread again using my bread machine instead of going out and buying bread thats definitely not as tasty. I would rather not use the bread machine but with the little time I have hands free of baby, it just isn't doable. I guess its doable for a super mom and I haven't quite figured that part out just yet!

I've been wanting to make a smore type cupcakes for sometime now but I just didn't feel inspired to do it until this past week, plus having Brandon home helps because I am less prone to eat all of it. hahaha. Bananas are my favorite fruit and I love it in pretty much any baked goods, so in essence it would just make a cupcake THAT much better in my opinion! As soft and moist as cupcakes are already, the bananas definitely make it THAT much softer and that much more moist. The toppings of graham cracker crumbs, mini marshmellows and chocolate chips transports me to the backpacking trip Brandon and I did back in Georgia, minus the flood we were in, and the ticks, and the cold and wet shoes and socks and the sparse dry twigs to make a fire. So all in all, only the good part of a backpacking trip bundled in a little package. Ahh...delicious!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius
1 1/2 C All purpose flour
3/4 C Sugar
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/4 ts salt
1/4 C melted butter (unsalted)
3 overripe bananas-mashed
2 large eggs
1/2 C Chocolate chips-semisweet
Buttercream Frosting
1 stick (1/2 C) of unsalted butter
1 lb confectioners sugar
1 Tbs milk
1. Combine all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips together in a large bowl, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients
2. In another bowl whisk together the melted and cooled butter, eggs and banana and pour into the well in the dry ingredients.
3. Gently fold together until just combined and add the chocolate chips and fold with a few more strokes.
4. Put cupcake liners into muffin tins and fill liners with batter evenly.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes and let cool on wire rack completely.
6. Beat butter till white and creamy with paddle attachment then add confectioners sugar and beat on lowest setting and add milk a little at a timel till it is the consistency you want for the frosting.
7. Dip cupcake into graham cracker crumbs and then decorate with mini marshmellows and chocolate chips.
8. Stuff it in your face! YUM!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Trip to P-Town

It has been a long 3 months and I am so ready for my husband to come back from deployment. It is almost that day and I am falling off my seat excited to welcome him home! It will mark the official first time that I can actually say I deserve the title of Navy Wife. I didn't know how much I was capable of until I was on my own with a new baby and a overly demanding dog who is in all essence, a second baby.
I started the deployment with the mindset of staying at home and taking it all in stride by myself. I felt I would be a failure as a wife, a mom and a person in general if I were to go back home to our parents. I can't tell you how much I needed their help though and I am glad that I did go back to Portland for 2 weeks. It was the perfect amount of time. Not so long that I would totally be out of my regular routine but long enough so that I could get some much needed relaxation and shopping done!

The great thing about Portland is the amazing food they have there. You could not run out of tongue enticing deliciousness if you tried! One of my familys all time favorites is Vertiable Quandary for a relaxing weekend brunch! Ah heaven! It doesn't hurt that the coffee in Portland is irresistably perfect and Vertiable Quandary has the most amazing window looking out onto their outside seating. It is pure bliss and to enjoy it with my parents was amazing.

Having a baby gives me little time to go out and enjoy a quality cup of coffee and relax and just take in the beauty that God created. I usually slurp my mediocre homemade coffee as fast as I can in anticipation of Bentons next moment of need. Don't get me wrong, I love to enjoy home brewed coffee while I watch Regis and Kelly in the morning but sometimes it is not possible to fully enjoy the aroma, the flavor and the warmth of coffee without an arm around the baby. I love him though and wouldn't trade him in for a million cups of quality coffee! :-)

My mom and my stepdad

My mom took me to Uwajimaya, a japanese/asian grocery store and got me a red bean mochi. YUM! This is definitely something I wish I could make! But be aware, each one of these little babies has 270 calories! WHOOH! Good thing I split it with my mom!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Tuiles

What better to start the new year off than something totally different for the January Daring Bakers Challenge! Karen aka Baking Soda at Bake My Day! (from the Netherlands) and Zorra aka Kochtopf at 1x umrühren bitte (originally Swiss now in Spain) gave us this creative challenge.

I have worked with Tuile before in school but both times they were in combination with a jaconde cake base layer, more of a cake, less of a delicate cookie. So instead of using a stencil like I always had, I decided I would try it using my ever so unused pastry tips and bags that I brought for a competition at school. There were both pros and cons I found in using tips rather than a stencil. It was definitely more time consuming using tips because I piped my butterflies using lines. So basically I piped all the vanilla tuile batter first, leaving gaps for where I wanted the chocolate tuile batter to go. I hope that makes sense. What I found was that the details were definitely more delicate in a way, less uniform but more delicate and unique. The other problem I had with using the tips was that the tuile batter was not as thin as it needed to be in order to form it into shapes and such after baking. The very last picture shows a better view of the tuile shaped at an angle for the wings. I had fun with it for sure and as for the taste, I definitely didn't like the intense butter flavor. It left my mouth with an unwanted aftertaste.
“The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.
Recipe:Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes,
baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch
65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet
Oven: 180C / 350F
Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.
Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

Fly away butterflies, Fly!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gone Fishing

It is way later than I had wanted to post this but this post is for the Brandon and Sean. Sean, Brandons younger brother was able to come visit us this past Christmas and despite the fact that Brandon had to fly and that Corpus isn't exactly the place to "be" they were able to get some brotherly bonding in. What better than to go ... FISHING!

We froze most of the fish cause they caught quite a few and I made fish and chips last night for Brandon. He said the batter was good, but the fish wasn't too great. It's weird, supposedly it is a tilapia but it was so crumbly and it kept breaking apart. Eh?
While Sean was here, we visited the USS Lexington and it was definitely alot cooler than I thought it would be but it was SOOOOOOOO dirty. Like there were so many stairs in this thing and they were mega steep with these nasty old ropes to hold on to while you go up and down them. Of course, I had to go and wear a skirt and high heels. Go figure.

Sean and Brandon. Are they pretending to read or actually reading???
Who really reads the information boards?

I hate taking pictures. Can you tell?

Sean and I. Ugh, I HATE pictures. hahahaha.

Brandon begged us to go and sit on this machine gun thingie but no one wanted to, so he had to.

Sean got arrested while on the boat.
and his accomplices...

Yeah... I guess we never grew up huh?

Don't ask me what we're standing in cause I still do not know.

I'm still puzzled as to how Sean fit into this thing.