Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fill Me Up Buttercup

Ever have a day when your stomach feels like a bottomless pit? No matter how much you eat, little tum-tum just keeps begging for more. I absolutely HATE that feeling. It's so frustrating! I try to stick to a healthy diet, being conscientious of what I eat, and how much of it I eat. But then there's days like today.

I wake up, have a rice cake with peanut butter, raisins and two dried apricots. This is my preworkout snack, everyday, never fail. When I get home from the gym little tum-tum is crying for some food, which is a normal behavior for tum-tum at this time of day. To the kitchen I go, pour blueberries, strawberries and chunks of peaches into a big (BIG) cereal bowl. And because I'm a freak-o and can't choose one cereal, I have to have a mixture of Kashi Go Lean, Kashi Honey Sunshine and Cascadian Farms Wheat Squares (Hey I told you I was a freak-o). I chase my cereal down with a big cup of hot tea. But tum-tum now wants something sweet and of course I can't say no, so I have a few bites of cake and maybe a tiny scoop of peanut butter.

Normally I'm fine at this point, for a few hours, but like I said today was one of those days. So, about an hour later I find myself craving Starbucks, I immediately jump in the car and head over to get my tum-tum something warm to drink (my thinking behind warm is that it will take me longer to drink it, so hopefully I won't want anything else too soon). "Hi! Can I get a Grande Decaf, Extra Hot, Extra Foam Cafe Misto with Sugar Free Vanilla?" Say that ten times fast...I always make sure to warn the barista that they're gonna need to grab my cup and a pen and be ready to write it down :)

Tum-tum of course isn't satisfied with my coffee for long, so it's spurts of carrots, peaches, turkey slices, handfuls of cereal, a few bites of a muffin, a cup of hot tea, a few dried figs, a few more handfuls of cereal, some broccoli, a spoonful of peanut butter with honey and a cheesecake bite that I turn to. And that's all before dinner time!

Dinner is a bowl of pasta with lemon chicken, mushrooms onions and peas. Then a bite of a cookie. Three hours later tum-tum is craving something sweet again, so it;s a few scoops of vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of honey and a chai hot tea with a shot of espresso.

I am now at the point where I'm looking back on my day and in complete disbelief that I can let tum-tum control my day like that...I then look on my dresser and realize that I am about ready to enter my favorite part of the month, and ladies I'm sure you know what I mean ;)

So to cure any tum-tum cravings I give you Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats with chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. That should shut any tum-tum up...I just can't guarantee for how long!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summa' Summa' Summa' Time

Can I just say how much work sucks! Here I am, nearing the end of summer, not yet been able to take a vacation, more tired than I've ever been and only realizing that this is the way of adulthood. There aren't any more nights of riding my bike around the neighborhood past sunset. The idea of playing with June Bugs is no longer appealing. Staying up past my bed time is not even a thought. And I hate to say it, but all of my "chores" are now completed before my adulthood bedtime of 9:00.

Where do the days go? Summer used to last forever. It was full of vacations, sleepovers, loads of ice cream, watermelon spitting contests and nights of sleep out on the giant trampoline in the backyard. Now all I dream about when i get off work is getting some food in my belly and going straight to bed.

Life's funny isn't it.

We always want what we can't have, and when we get to the point of having what we've always wanted, we realize that we don't want it anymore. I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles, or so I've heard. But at least we have food to help take us back to those lazy summer days!

So, here we are at yet another Tuesday, celebrating another recipe down in this journey to complete Dorie's amazing book! Michelle, of Michelle in Colorado Springs, was our hostess this week. And what a treat she chose...Dorie's Summer Fruit Galette. And let me tell you, there could not be an easier recipe out there.

My Peach Galette with Pomegranate Jelly came together so quick and easy that it will definitely be one of my go to recipes when I'm ready for something quick and easy! Hope you all enjoy! Happy baking :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TWD: Two for One

When I saw the pick for this week's TWD I was actually really excited! Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake picked Dorie's Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler.

Reason #1 for excitement: I love, love, LOVE cobbler.

Reason #2 for excitement: I have become very fond of the pink celery, other wise know as Rhubarb.

Reason #3 for excitement: The recipe seems soo easy!

Of course, with reasons for excitement comes reasons that the recipe had to be altered...

Altercation reason #1: I live in Albuquerque, NM and could not find Rhubarb anywhere! I used to be able to find it frozen, but that still wasn't an option.

Altercation reason #2: I actually like an entire crust on cobblers, not biscuit sized droppings.

...So with that I give you my Altered Peach Cobbler made with Dorie's Crust :) (Scroll down for the extra helping of TWD)

Last week the TWD Gang made Chocolate Pudding. I unfortunately couldn't participate in it, because I thought I didn't have the right equipment. But, thanks to those who left comments on my blog saying I could use a whisk I was ready to give that Chocolate Pudding a whirl!

I decided to use Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder, just because I'm a dark chocolate freak. I also flamed up some mini marshmallows and added a caramel drizzle to the top! I felt like I had just made some fancy high-end dessert, and the pudding just melted in my mouth.

Thank you Bloggers for convincing me to use my whisk, never again will I have store bought pudding!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A New Friend

Ever since I was little, I have always liked stone fruits, particularly peaches and nectarines. There's nothing like biting into a juicy piece of fruit on a hot summer day. With juice running down your face and your mouth exploding with a sweet goodness, there's no better way to divulge in the warm weather of summer. And although I am a die hard stone fruit fan, there's one fruit in which I particularly never get a craving for.

That lonely fruit would be the plum. Not that I have anything against the purple jewel toned fruit, I just never get an overwhelming urge to sink my teeth into the tart little plum. However, I have been seeing a lot of recipe that use the lonely plum. So this got me thinking...maybe plums are like Granny Smith Apples, you give them a little heat and they sweeten right up. And who doesn't love a baked Granny Smith apple?

After searching through recipes, reading comments and finding out that plums were only $0.99 a lb., I had come to a decision. I was on a mission to make something that would finally allow me to add one more fruit to my list of favorite summer fruits! My accomplice in this mission was Martha's Open-Face Plum Cake.

I cannot begin to tell you how simply satisfying this recipe was! Not only was it the easiest recipe to make (ever), but I am now a plum believer! The plums really took on a sweet, juicy flavor. They also held their shape really well too, which was nice because it allowed me to get a good chuck of plum with each bite. I will never again say that I don't really care for plums! I see them in a whole different light now, and know that I have other ways to eat them that will ensure me being a plum fanatic from now on!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head...and a TWD Mishap

These last few weeks have been the strangest weeks here in the hot and dry land of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have been experiencing something that is rare to us, and almost foreign. The little drops keep falling down from the sky every night when these huge black clouds gather together. And when they hit you they explode like tiny little water balloons that are being dropped by the millions. I think somebody up in the sky is keeping score of how many water balloons fall too, because every few minutes there are these bright flashes from the sky, followed by the crowd above roaring with excitement.

Since things have been so gloomy around here, for reasons unknown, I decided to help bring a little sunshine into my gray life. Nothing screams summer to me more than the color yellow and the taste of lemon. That refreshing taste and warm, soul-brightening color can turn any rainy day into a tiny, smidgen of a sun ray :)

I give you my Rainy Day Blues Lemon Cake with fresh raspberries! (I actually cheated a little bit by using a store bought cake mix...blame it on the weather) Which came out really well, I simply made the batter, spread it in the pan, dropped the raspberries on top and shoved her in the oven. I usually don't like raspberries in my cakes or desserts because of the seeds, but surprisingly the seeds seemed to have baked there way out of my cake. Which made me one happy camper.

Hope that you all aren't experience this streak of weird weather, but if you are...look on the bright side...there's always cake!!

...I unfortunately couldn't participate in this weeks TWD because I don't have a food processor :( I'm hoping to buy one within the next two weeks though, and I'll have to play a little catch-up. But too see all the marvelous Chocolate Puddings visit each TWD member, and thanks to Melissa for choosing such a yummy looking recipe, I hope to try it soon!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's a Love Hate Relationship

One of my favorite movies growing up was Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (and not the Tim Burton film!!). Just the thought of getting to stay at such an elaborate candy factory all day and eating as much sweets as I wanted seemed so amazing! I remember watching that movie a hundred times and each time there was something new that I had missed the first 76 times I watched it. Of course the most distinguishing factor of that movie was the Golden Ticket.

Right after I saw Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory for the first time (not completely understanding that this was strictly a movie) I would get so excited to get a candy bar from the store. I'd immediately tear open the wrapper and be devastated that there was no Golden Ticket, I quickly learned what the difference between real life and make-believe in the movies meant. But it was incredible what a rush I would get from opening those candy bars. Not only was there the overwhelming joy of getting to eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but there was also the thrill of looking for that twinkly gold wrapper inside that would unlock my sweet tooth's fantasy world. And even though I never got a ticket, and finally figured out I never would I still had my candy bar to comfort me :)

I must admit thought, that while I loved the movie, I didn't really care for all of the characters. I especially disliked Violet Beauregarde. There was something about her that just didn't sit right with me. Maybe it was the fact that she was chewing the same ole crappy piece of gum for lord knows how long, or that she was so bossy, or that she wore that awful blue jumpsuit. I haven't yet, after about 20 years of watching that movie quite figured it out yet, but I know that i just didn't and don't like her. So, for some odd reason my Double Crusted Blueberry Pie for this weeks TWD reminded me of Violet.

The pie was amazing and had really great flavor, but the crust was not my friend. I actually had a really hard time making this silly crust, I think my problem was that I added too much water. (So after cursing the pie crust out for not coming out right I went to the store and bought a refrigerated, premade pie dough. I know, I know I shouldn't have done that, but I couldn't help it I was about ready to loose it with the dough!) Once I had that problem resolved everything came out amazing! I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh, and they actually held their texture and shape a lot better than the fresh would've. Each bit was a burst of blueberry goodness.

So maybe my connection to TWD and Violet was that there was a part of each of them that I didn't like, or that Violet blew up to be a gigantic blueberry, rolled away to be drained, just like I drained my giant blueberries in my mouth after each devilish bite! Thank you Amy (of South in Your Mouth) for stirring up some wonderful childhood memories (visit her website for the recipe).

Friday, July 4, 2008

As American as Apple Pie

On the day that we are celebrating America's Independence I figured no dessert could be more appropriate than Apple Pie! It's no wonder why this pie is one of America's most favorite and maybe most patriotic dessert. The combination of crunchy, sweet apples, with spicy cinnamon and of course a crispy crust will melt your heart instantly. With it being the Fourth of July, I couldn't just make any ole Apple Pie, I had to go all out.

I remembered a few month's ago seeing this amazing Apple Pie on a Food Network show, and immediately knew this would be the perfect Birthday Pie for my beloved country. The original recipe is an enormous "Savannah High" Apple Pie, which calls for 24, yes 24, apples...I decided to half it and use 12. 12 crispy green Granny Smith apples still turned out to be a lot, especially when you're finely slicing the apples instead of just making chucks. But the end effect was to die for. You see, with this recipe you slice the apples very thin, then stack them in layers creating a really tall, really packed apple pie. And did I mention there's streusel layers in between apple layers? You heard right bloggers! Then you top the whole pie of with a layer of crust, which after its baked, gets a layer of sticky, gooey caramel pecan topping. I can't begin to tell you how good this pie was!

I can't wait to enjoy this pie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream while we watch fireworks burst up above to commemorate this beautiful country and all it has to offer! And to all of those who have fought so hard to keep providing Americans with the independence, freedom and glory that we treasure I can't thank you enough! Happy Birthday America!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm A Believer!

So I must admit when I saw this week's TWD recipe I was a little reluctant. I remember about a year ago when I bought Dorie's book I read through every page, as I'm sure most of us do. I was making notes of things that I thought I just couldn't live without, which of course was almost the entire book. One of the few items that didn't make my expanding list were the Apple Cheddar Scones. I mean I like apples and cheese, but together in a scone just didn't sound right. So I just completely skipped over that page without a second thought...until last week when I visited the amazing TWD webpage and saw that Karina of The Floured Apron picked this recipe.

I was debating whether or not I wanted to make them, and I finally decided I'll never know unless I try. And what is life if you don't take chances, right? So I set out to the store, bought all my ingredients and brought them home ready to make the best, of what I thought was the worst :)

I of course am a batter taster, so the second I had the batter all prepared (which is my fav scone recipe, because they come together soo quickly) I had to stick my lightly sun kissed index finger into the golden yellow batter. Straight into the mouth and a slight turn of the head was my response. The batter tasted sweeter and better than what I had thought, but still not convinced I told myself that I wouldn't be swayed until I tasted the actual baked product.

As the minutes on the timer ticked away, the most amazing, sweet, fruity aroma filled my apartment. My barrier against this recipe was slowly starting to deteriorate! The second the timer went off I ran to the oven and pulled out these gorgeous, sunshine yellow with orange speckled scones. It was hard for me to let them cool before tasting them, but the minute I put them into my mouth and was able to process the flavor my barrier completely crumbled, leaving me standing there wanting another bite of these sweet scones.

I think the combination of the sweet yellow corn meal, dried apples and apple juice really helped to mellow out the sharp cheese. So I must say thank you so much to Karina for widening my horizons and to try not to prejudge a recipe before I've tasted it. To see other TWD Blogger experiences check out the famous Tuesdays With Dorie Blog!