Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Megalodon Shark

Ian's 2011 Science Fair project.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Happy Monday Friends.  I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend. I was a cooking/baking machine this past weekend.  I tried 3 new recipes and they were all hits!  One of them was this cinnamon pull apart bread.  I know the weekend is a few days away, but please put this on your menu.  This cinnamon bread was excellent.  I served it warm out of the oven, and wow we ate the whole loaf.  The dough was light and fluffy and laced with cinnamon sugar. Yum! I would suggest you make the dough the night before, unless you are an early riser on Saturday mornings. If you would like a step-by-step tutorial check out Annie's Eats.  Have a great week!

For the dough:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
¼ cup granulated sugar
2¼ tsp.  yeast
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup skim milk
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the filling:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan and heat just until the butter is melted.  Set aside and let cool briefly.
To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.    Add the milk mixture, water, vanilla and eggs to the mixer bowl.  Mix on low speed until a cohesive dough forms.  Continue to knead until it is smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky. I added 2 additional tablespoons, but could have probably used 1 more.  Knead about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  (After the dough has doubled, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.)

While the dough rises, melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave.  Set aside.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon  in a small bowl and mix well.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. 

Roll into a ball, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

Roll the dough out into about a 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the butter.  Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer. Please do use all of the sugar mixture, as some of it will come off when you cut the dough.

Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan ( I sprayed mine with Pam and it worked great).   Slice the dough vertically into 6 even strips.

Stack the strips on top of each other and again cut again into 6 equal slices.

Stack all the squares on top of each other and set into the prepared loaf pan.  Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place, 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Transfer the loaf to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  (If the top seems to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil at the end of baking.)  I covered mine after 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan 20-30 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and carefully turn the loaf out, transferring to a serving plate.  Serve warm.

Source: Annie's Eats

Friday, March 25, 2011

Salted Caramel Brownies

Hi Friends!

I'm back.  I hope that you have all been doing well, and I can't wait to catch up with all of you!

One of the fun things that we did on our break was a trip to Chicago.  We visited with some dear friends.  I brought these brownies for dessert the evening we arrived.  They seemed to be a hit!  If you like chocolate and caramel I think you will love these.  Give them a try. Have a super weekend!

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature (make sure the cream is warm enough, or when you add it to the caramel it will harden)

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as the sugar begins to melt. Some of the sugar will harden into clumps, but that’s okay – it will melt eventually – just keep whisking. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. At that point, whisk in the salt, and then add the butter all at once and whisk until it is completely incorporated into the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream (it will foam up when first added). Continue to whisk until it forms a smooth sauce.
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before using in the brownies. The leftover sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (You’ll probably need to warm it up a bit straight from the refrigerator.)


7 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons  dutch process cocoa powder
3 eggs
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4- 1/2 cup toasted pecans chopped
Salted Caramel Sauce (see the recipe above)
Coarse sea salt

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 9 -inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with overlapping pieces of foil and spray the foil.

2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour until just combined. Pour about half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spread into the corners. Spoon 9 dollops of Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter ( I guessed on what the size of a dollop was and used a spoon that you would eat soup with). Top with the remaining brownie mixture, spread into the corners and level the surface with a spatula. Again, spoon 9 dollops of the Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. With a dull butter knife, gently run it through the batter to swirl the batter just a bit (don’t do it too much or it will all mix together). Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top.

4. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. I kept my brownies in the pan, and cut what as we eat them.

Source:  Brown-eyed Baker via Baking Illustrated

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yellow Dress

Isn't this the prettiest dress!  Picky girl is starting to get some new pieces in for spring.  I just love this beautiful yellow dress with the blue necklace.

On another note I'm going to be taking the next couple weeks off from the blog world.  My plate is pretty full (with good things) for the next couple of weeks.  So if you don't hear from me on your blog or don't see me on our blog, it's not you it's me.

Have a great couple of weeks friends. Enjoy those long days!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Alfalfa to the Tenth Power

As my children grow and change I cherish those tender moments.  I am also excited to see their independence. 
Ian is "grown up" enough to take a shower by himself.  Now, he is an eight year old boy so I do sometimes double check that he has scrubbed behind his ears.  His hair is getting quite long, so yesterday I asked him to let me help him shampoo his hair.  Well, we were being particularly silly and laughed quite a bit.  I hope you get a good laugh too.
Have a great weekend friends!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Powerhouse Smoothie

Isn't it puuurty?
Maybe not so much.
When I saw this on my friend Vivi's blog I new I had to give it a whirl.
Now, I know this doesn't have a lot of visual appeal, but it tastes pretty good.  I gave a little to Brian just to see what he thought, and he also liked it.
One of my goals on this blog is to inspire you to try new and different foods, and I hope we do that.
I changed the recipe a bit from the original, and I  would encourage you to use it as a springboard to suit your tastes.  Give it a try.

Powerhouse Smoothie

2 Large handfuls of organic baby spinach
1/2 cup skim milk
1 Banana (either frozen or fresh)
1/2 Cup organic frozen blueberries
2 Tablespoons milled flax seed
1/4 Cup greek yogurt
2 teaspoons honey (I melt my honey, because I feel it incorporates better.)

Place all of the ingredients in your blender until your desired consistency is achieved.

Here's to your health!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Special Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Let's jazz up your boring ham and cheese sandwich,shall we.  Quick, easy, and delicious.

Special Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Butter Spread:
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon finely minced onion or dried
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

Hamburger buns
Sliced deli ham (I like black forest for this recipe)
Sliced swiss cheese

Mix together the ingredients for the butter spread.  Spread the butter mixture on the inside of each hamburger bun.  Add a ham and cheese slice to each one.  Wrap each sandwich loosely in foil and bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  I usually get 5-6 sandwiches out of this amount of spread you may get more or less depending on much spread you use for each sandwich.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

He can't put it down...

He always has a book in his backpack.
He has been walking into walls.
Running into furniture.
Leaning over the side of his bed so he can read just a bit more.
Drawing all sorts of characters.
I'm not sure what is so intriguing about a guy who only wears underwear and a cape, but Captain Underpants has captivated my son.


Spicy Shrimp Po' Boys

We all love shrimp around here, so when I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats I knew I needed to make it.  Brian loved these and so did I.  The kids liked them, but the shrimp is  very spicy, so you might want to cut back on the spice.  This really isn't a problem if you eat it like a sandwich, but if you eat your shrimp on the side like our kids do, well them you really feel the heat!
If you like spicy food and shrimp please make these.  The juicy and spicy shrimp with the cool veggies and the crunch... oh my.  This photo isn't even that good, but just looking at this sandwich and remembering the meal makes me drool!  With all the cold weather we have been having this is a great way to warm up.

Spicy Shrimp Po' Boys

Cajun Seasoning:

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Sauce: ( I eye balled most of these ingredients, so add to taste)

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 large pickle spear finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
Dijon mustard
prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon ketchup
cayenne pepper
hot sauce


1 lb. medium to large shrimp peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cajun seasoning use all of the above recipe
4 sandwich rolls ( I used club rolls)
Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomato

1.  Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl with a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.  Cover and refrigerate until you are going to use it.

2.  Combine all of the spices for the seasoning in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Toss the shrimp, olive oil and cajun seasoning in a medium bowl until thoroughly coated.

4. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the shrimp for about two minutes per side.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.  It is easy to over cook shrimp, so don't step away while they are cooking.

5. Slice the rolls in half.    Spread some of the sauce on each slice.  Layer lettuce, shrimp, and tomato.  Top with the over half of the roll and serve immediately.

Source:  Annie's Eats

I read this on a blog the other day, I don't remember which one but I thought it might make you laugh.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says "oh crap, she's up!"

FYI:  We have a recipe index now at the top of the page.  I hope you like it, let me know what you think.

Have a great day!

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