Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yummy Fall Cookies

I found this recipe from King Arthur Flour. I know, surprise surprise.
I wanted to find a good Gingersnap cookie for my friend who is super sick with her pregnancy. I remembered that ginger helped me get through the yucky parts and wanted to try to help her.

They are amazing, yucky pregnant or not.
And yes, she was able to keep them down. Good sign.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Creme together:
3/4 cup vegetable shortening (butter can be substituted)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

Then add:
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses
Mix well.

1-2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I have also used allspice in place of the cloves with excellent results)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/3 cups KAF unbleached all purpose flour

Mix well. It will be a slightly stiff dough.

Form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. If you have a teaspoon cookie scoop great, if not use a teaspoon and form the dough in your hands.

Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat them. Then place on baking sheet.
I use parchment paper on my baking stone. Perfect cookies every time. (cookies, pizza, biscuits, breads, etc. etc. Can you tell I use mine a ton?)

KAF has a stone that is similar to mine.
I got mine from Shar's kitchen store in Arizona years ago. It looks like this.

Bake for 11 minutes and let cool on cookie rack.

Then enjoy the fall spice of these
amazing cookies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The kids ate it!

I don't know about you, but there are many meals I make where I get at least one or more "Mom do I have to eat this?"

It is so nice when I make something and I hear "Can I have some more? This is good. Can you make this again?"

This happened the other night.

I got the recipes from my friend Traci and my Aunt in Utah.Thanks so much to both of you for making this a "thanks mom" kind of night.

First, Porkypine Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup dry rice ( I used regular )
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp onion (dry or fresh)
Salt & Pepper
(I also added my secret savory spice blend, if you have a favorite blend, add a little, maybe a teaspoon)

Blend the ground beef, spices and rice together and form golfball or fist size balls.

My Aunt's recipe says to place in a baking dish,
Pour 1 can of tomato soup mixed with 1/2 cup water over the meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

I'm not a bake for hours kinda girl. I love my pressure cooker. This is the one I have and use all the time.
I put my meatballs in, covered them with the soup and set the pressure cooker at high for 8 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally, which takes about 20 minutes, and you're done.
The best thing about this pressure cooker is that you don't have to baby sit it. Set it and walk away. Done!

Next, Pumpkin (or Squash) Risotto
1 medium sugar pie pumpkin (butternut squash is ok)
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt

Peel and seed pumpkin. Cut into cubes. Rub with 2 T olive oil and season lightly with kosher salt. Spread on sheet pan and roast in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until soft but not mushy.

After pumpkin or squash is cooked combine the following:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion diced
3 ribs celery diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 cups Arborio rice (short grain rice OK)
6+ cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat oil over medium heat in large stockpot. Add onions, celery, and garlic and cook until slightly translucent. Add rice, stir well and allow rice to 'toast' slightly. Begin adding stock 1/2 cup at a time until it is all absorbed into rice. Rice should be creamy, but not too soft when finished. (About 20-25 min) Stir in roasted pumpkin cubes and reduce heat to low. Fold in butter and place in serving dishes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

You should know that the Risotto recipe makes a LOT! It fed my family of 7 for more than one night. If there is just a few of you, half the recipe.

It's some work to put this together, but the "Thanks Mom" is so worth it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A perfect combination

Here's the next recipe from my King Arthur Flour addiction. It definitely ranks up there with my husbands Top 5 of favorite candy/desserts. I asked him if it was #1 but he said it would be unfair to the others so he won't pick.

Peanut Butter Squares

1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
3/4 cups butter (one and a half sticks)

In a large microwavable bowl, melt PB and butter together.

Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract

You need 2 cups graham cracker crumbs. I put 2 packages (the bricks of grahams) in the blender to get the crumbs. It was the perfect amount.

Add the graham cracker crumbs and
3 cups confectioners' sugar to the peanut butter mixture and stir well.

Spread into a 9x13 inchpan. The recipe says to line it with parchment paper first to make removal easier. I used a shallow pie pan for mine and still got excellent results.

To press the bars down, lay a piece of plastic over the top then use another pan to press the bars flat. So quick and easy.

Now for the Chocolate:

In a glass 2 cup measuring cup, put 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 Tablespoons shortening in and place in microwave. Heat for 1 minute, stirring afterwards to smooth the chocolate. You may need to heat for another 30 seconds or so to get the chocolate smooth and creamy.

When chocolate is ready, smooth across the peanut butter bars. Place in fridge or freezer to set the bars.

It's cold enough here, I just put the pan in my garage for about an hour.
Cut into 1 inch squares and Enjoy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Apple Heaven

My name is Shelley and I am a King Arthur Flour addict.

I just started my subscription to their "Baking Sheet". It's a magazine they send out full of recipes and no ads. How cool is that?

The holiday issue is packed with yummy things I can't wait to try. This morning I started with Luscious Apple Rolls. Can I just say, they were appropriately named?

So here goes:

In a medium sauce pan combine the following:
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 3/4 cups water or 1 cup apple cider and 3/4 cups water. (I used apple cider from Costco. Make one cup for the syrup and one for you to enjoy while doing all the prep work.)
Add 2 Tbsp butter.
Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let cool.

( I think I want to make this again for apple pancakes. mmmm.....)

The pastry:

Sift together:
2 cups flour (King Arthur Flour)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
Then cut in:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Mix until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a separate bowl stir together:
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg

Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Blend just until dough is evenly moistened. It will be dry. That's OK.

Dump dough out onto lightly floured sheet of Parchment paper.
If you don't have any, you seriously need to get some. KAF has it here. The great thing about it is that you can wash it and reuse it over and over again as long as you are careful and don't tear it. It will become your new must have in the kitchen for baking.

I know it looks dry, but it will work. Now take one side of the parchment paper and fold it over, then press dough flat like this:
Unfold the paper, turn it and press the dough down again rotating the dough. This is what creates the layers of the pastry and makes it light and flaky. It's OK if there are chunks of butter visible. Trust me, you want them there.
Fold and press the dough a few times to help the dough stick together. Then lightly flour your rolling pin and roll the dough out to a 9x12 inch rectangle.
Did you notice the chunks of butter in the dough? Look close.

KAF tip: The standard rolling pin barrel is about 9 inches. A super easy way to measure your dough.
KAF tip 2: The barrel of your rolling pin plus one handle is about 14 inches. (I learned this at the Traveling Baking Demo that KAF did here in Seattle. Watch for more posts of what I learned. I can't wait to share more.)

Next get two apples. To keep things festive I used a Golden, and a Cameo. Shred the apples and mix with
1 Tbsp lemon juice
This will help keep the apples from turning brown.

Evenly spread apple shreds on pastry dough, leaving about 1 inch space on the long end of one side to seal the seam. Carefully roll the dough up and cut with Dental floss, unflavored kind, like you do with cinnamon rolls. Gently place in well greased 9x13 pan.

There should be 12 rolls.
Pour the syrup on and around the rolls.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of one of the rolls comes out clean. Remove from oven and serve warm.
They are seriously Heavenly!

Prep time is about 1 hour. You can make the syrup and the rolls the night before, just cook the apple shreds slightly in the lemon juice and let cool before rolling them up. Cover the rolls, and place in refrigerator over night. In the morning, uncover and pour syrup over rolls while oven preheats. Then they can bake while you get ready for your day, then fresh hot Luscious Apple Rolls for breakfast. MMMmmmmm.....

Monday, September 27, 2010

My John Hancock

Do you have a signature thing that you do where everyone knows it's made by you and it's requested at nearly every function?

I do.

It's Dinner Rolls.

Sunday dinner with the family. Thanksgiving. Special occasions. Church parties. The good part is that I really like making them. Little balls of yummy goodness, warm and slathered in butter. Well anything would be good slathered in butter but still. I made my signature for the church corn fest last week and decided I should share. I even took pictures. Maybe this will become your John Hancock. I don't mind sharing.

Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 cups milk - warm or scald
1/2 cups sugar or honey
1/2 cups oil or applesauce, it won't affect the end result, just the fat content
2 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten

Place above ingredients in mixer and mix slightly. Sprinkle 2 cups flour on top then add 2 Tbsp yeast on top of flour. Turn on mixer on low just long enough to let yeast get wet. Cover and let sit 3-4 minutes. Then add about 3 cups flour one at a time until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Mix for about 8-9 minutes. Let rise until double in bulk. Punch down and start forming the balls. They should be about golf ball size.

Grab a piece of dough and tuck the sides around to the bottom to get a nice round top, then roll in both hands to make it ball shape. Place on greased cookie sheet. Leave enough space for the rolls to rise.Cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise till double in bulk again. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for about 11 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with shortening. Let cool slightly, add butter, and DIG IN!

I hope you enjoy my 'John Hancock!' I know we do!

Friday, September 17, 2010

How much do I love thee?

We've almost been in the Pacific Northwest for a year now.
Every time I go outside, yes every time,
I'm so amazed at how beautiful it is here.

Let me share a few more pics.
Another pic of the beach at Deception Pass. I love this picture of the kids in the surf. It's actually my wallpaper on my computer.

Lord Hill Park.
This was the first hike of the summer that we went on with some friends. I'll never get over the trees.

Our first time Clamming on Sammish Beach. Sooo fun catching the clams. Not so fun prying them open and figuring out what is edible or not.

Sunset at Lincon Park.
We do see the sun sometimes here. It truly is a gift when we do.

We got to watch the life cycle of the goose in the pond next to our
house. It was so fun to watch the family dynamics of the geese. The dad was so protective of his little flock. Always alert. Always ready to defend. It was amazing how fast the goslings grew. I was sad and grateful at the same time when they finally flew away. They pooped all over our yard and driveway. When we tried to shoo them out of the yard, the neighbors got mad and accused us of traumatizing the geese.I didn't want to eat them, just not have to watch my step when I went out to get in the car.

I think this is the Stillaguamish River. We stopped here to play in the water on a day trip. Too cold for me. Perfect for my family.

Leavenworth, WA A great little Bavarian town with cool shops and great eats. Uli's Pub had the best pretzels I've ever had.

Padilla Bay
Of course they had cool shells there. My niece had to have a picture taken since she couldn't bring the shell home.

We go to pick blueberries,
raspberries, and strawberries. The kids loved it. My youngest, not so much. He really wasn't a stinker about it. I just loved this photo.

This was the Big Four Ice Cave hike. I'm not sure why they call it Big Four. Doesn't it look like Five peaks to you? Either way it was a fun easy hike with breathtaking mountains around us. For some reason the ice flow makes these huge ice caves. I was floored at how much water continually flows from the mountain. Cold and clear.
I'll finish with the Seattle Skyline from the Space Needle.

It was great having my sister here for a few weeks to go exploring and enjoy the summer. I know I did. 120 degrees is just not fun. 70 is more like it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh the places we've been!

Now that summer is pretty much over. It did get into the 70's today and sunny, but back to 60's and rain the rest of the weekend. Plus school is officially started. This week is the first 5 day week. I wanted to post some pictures of amazing places we went this summer.

I've also decided to dabble a bit in increasing my photography skills. So here goes:
I needed a picture of the Seattle Temple. After many attempts and settings, I think this one is the best with the flowers and sunlight across the face of the temple.
This isFranklin Falls. It is east of Seattle. Easy hike, beautiful reward.

Martha Lake Beach park.

My little girl at Waverly Beach.
Then all the boys jumping into the water.

We tried to go Huckleberry picking and ended up on this remote mountain somewhere between Mt Ranier and Mt St Helens. No berrys but a cool log pile.

The beach at Lincoln Park in Seattle.
Undoubtedly our top beach to go to. Well... so far.

A close competitor is DeceptionPass beach. My little guy with his cousin out to chase the waves.

Suncadia Resort
Everything about it was amazing. I so can't wait to go back!

A beautiful church on the way home from the Tulip Fesival in La Conner.

Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC That's almost my birthday. Just off by a year... or so...
The Vancouver BC Temple.

I have many more pics to share, but for tonight, lets start and end with Temples.

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