Archive from April, 2009
Apr 30, 2009 - File Icon Cake, Dessert, Quick Bread   Comment Icon 2 Comments

Raspberry Coffee Cake – Feeding The Soul

Crumbly Yummy Top

Work has really been evil for me lately. My schedule got knocked around majorly, I now have to be at work at 5:00am. Because of my commute I have to leave at 4:20am. I have to wake up by 3:10am to go shower.

Yeah, its early and yeah it sucks. Hopefully it’ll only be temporary.

It feels as though my soul has taken a little beating lately with the stress of a new work schedule and the stress of getting up so flipping early. It almost feels as though my soul needs a hug. Or maybe a band-aid and a bubble bath. Either way I know there is one thing to feed my soul.

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Apr 29, 2009 - File Icon Hints/Tips, Snacks   Comment Icon Comments Off on Dried Tomatoes

Dried Tomatoes

Over the last few weeks I went on a tomato binge. Strange sounding, but since I don’t drink, I tend to binge on weird things. Or maybe I should just refer to them as a random craving. A craving that lasts for weeks or months.

I first remember the cravings starting with cheese cake. I had to have cheese cake multiple times a week. Then it was anything in a tortilla. There were a few others in there but lately it was tomatoes. Not just any tomatoes, but cherry or grape tomatoes. Small tart yet sweet little tomato treats. Not often do you hear people waxing poetic over tomatoes, huh? Yeah I’m a freak.

But what do you do when you break down and buy the huge container from the warehouse retailer? There are only so many tomatoes that you can eat in a day before you realize that the basis of your snacks at work are tomatoes. You also get some funny looks from coworkers.

You can dry them of course!

Dried Tomatoes

I seem to be having this new obsession with my dehydrator. I feel like I’m having a naughty affair behind the backs of my fresh tomato’s… Do they have backs?

I had never tried drying tomatoes before, mostly just making fruit leathers from applesauce or making apple chips. The tomatoes were looking a little on the over ripe side, since there are only so many tomatoes you eat before you get a little burned out. So I decided to try something new. Cut them in half and stuck them cut side up in the dehydrator.

It really isn’t a quick process, but in the end I think it’s better than buying them prepacked in olive oil and other preservatives in the grocery store. I will have to try making some sauces and pastas from these little babies soon. But they are quite tasty, dried and plain out of the bag.

Now if only I could get rid of this random obsession with mustard…

Apr 27, 2009 - File Icon Hints/Tips   Comment Icon Comments Off on How To Store Citrus Long Term

How To Store Citrus Long Term

I love to cook with citrus. Lemons and limes tend to make it into at least half of my dishes, more with lemon than lime but that could change.

So what do you do when you get a hankering for something with a hint of lemon? I mean really, I do love having lemons sitting out on the counter. But they will rot if you don’t get to all the cooking that you really want to during the week and they can end up getting thrown away.

So what does one do when faced with a large bag of lemons (or limes in this case) but want to make sure that using them will be easy in the future as well as getting your money’s worth in the long run?

By killing them of course.

Dead Limes

Delicious death!
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Apr 25, 2009 - File Icon Bread, Main Dishes, Yeast Bread   Comment Icon Comments Off on First Ever Home Made Pizza!

First Ever Home Made Pizza!

For the longest time I’ve been wanting to make home made pizza. I’m not talking about grabbing a premade/shaped crust, and adding toppings (pizza dough in a can doesn’t count either).

I’m referencing one of those times where you make the dough yourself, everything is made start to finish (well except cheese, I don’t know how to do that yet).

We made our first pizza a few days ago, and I have to tell you I’m in love.

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Apr 23, 2009 - File Icon Snacks, Vegetarian   Comment Icon Comments Off on Apple Chips

Apple Chips

I love my dehydrator. I find it one of the most useful tools for preserving my fruits that are just past peak.

I’ve had some apples living in the bottom drawer of my fridge for a few weeks, but had no urge to eat them at all since they seemed rather squishy. I HATE squishy apples. They have to be almost under-ripe and super crunchy for me to eat them.

So I went to town and sliced up all my apples. There were about 5 large ones, and it made quite a bit of apple chips…

Apple Chips

But sadly enough these were all that survived. I made them the same day that my friend helped me to make some ice cream sandwiches, and in between steps we kept munching on them. I have to say I was REALLY full by the time we were done making those sandwiches.

Imagine eating 2.5 apples worth of fiber! That’s a whole lot of fiber!

Most of the time when you find dried apples in the stores, they are thick and chewy and covered in chemicals so they don’t turn brown. My versions are generally thinly sliced and almost over dried, making them slightly crunchy chips. And who cares if they are slightly brown! Yum!

I also like using tart apples for this, it gives it a little more flavor and not too sweet. A friend of my husband mentioned in passing that he always had too many apples due to the trees on his property, hopefully I can get some of those this year and make an arsenal of apple chips!

I just have to remember not to eat them all in one day…

Apr 21, 2009 - File Icon Cook Books   Comment Icon Comments Off on Joy Of Cooking Cook Book

Joy Of Cooking Cook Book

I seem to collect cook books.

I worked in a craft store for more than two years, and I was given the task of ordering, organizing, and keeping track of all books in the store. You could be sure that I knew exactly where each book was, how many we had, and where to find certain things in each book. I really am a book nerd.

Now that I have started doing the cooking adventures, my love of cook books has expanded. I can read them cover to cover like a regular novel and be completely entranced.


One of my favorite books is my Joy of Cooking book. It was given to me by a friend after my husband and I started hanging out with them more on weekends and grilling together. This was the first cook book anyone had ever given me; at least that I can remember. This was the first book I ever made something out of that turned out great, a blackberry and raspberry pie.

Needless to say this book has a great meaning to me. Especially since the friend who gave me this book passed away not long before my wedding. Even though I know it would be better to have a hard bound book and not one that could easily fall apart (like it is starting to do at the edges) but I really can’t see myself ever getting rid of it.

Now, not all the reasons why I love this book are purely sentimental. This really is a good book to have on hand. It will show you how to do almost everything in the kitchen, from how to cook meats properly, to pie, to everything. It even will tell you how to cook things that I don’t think I will EVER try.

I’m not a fan of how they lay out the ingredients and directions. They put the ingredients IN the directions so all of your ingredients are spread out. In a sense that’s nice since you don’t have to refer to a list for what you have to do and can just read the recipe, but i guess i just am used to the traditional way of doing things. It is definitely one of the books that every chef needs to have in their collection, especially beginners.

Apr 19, 2009 - File Icon Cookies, Dessert, Frozen Treats   Comment Icon Comments Off on Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yesterday was spent in the most delightful way. The sun has been shining, it is slowly getting warmer, and things are just looking brighter all around. Money is still tight with the economy, so what can you do when you want a nice treat on a warm spring day?

Make your own ice cream sandwiches!

Ice Cream Sandwich

I’m on a mission to do “Pantry Buster” type of cooking lately, and use things that are in the pantry rather than something new and exciting that needs all sorts of new ingredients that I have to stock up on.

I’ve wanted to do home made ice cream sandwiches for a while since I’ve been craving a delicious Its-It sandwich. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find them here since we moved, so I decided to make them with the help of my lovely assistant and friend who came over.

An Its-It is a large ice cream sandwich made of two oatmeal cookies, filled with vanilla ice cream, and covered in a layer of chocolate. Who couldn’t love that! I mean seriously. But since I can’t find them, I wanted to make them. And if I did I wouldn’t want to spend the money, AND they are huge. Seriously huge. I believe you need two hands to properly eat it. My version is much smaller
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Apr 8, 2009 - File Icon Hints/Tips, In The Kitchen   Comment Icon Comments Off on Kneading Bread

Kneading Bread

Mixer Kneading Dough

One of my favorite things to make lately is bread. Unfortunately bread takes a fair amount of kneading to create the right texture for baking. To me this is unfortunate because of a wrist injury that acts up whenever I try to knead bread dough by hand.

I really don’t think you can knead by “hand” without using your wrist. But quite a thought huh?

So in order to make my bread, I have been using a bread machine to mix the dough or even my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attached.

The texture is great and I haven’t really noticed a difference between using the machines and doing it by hand. I’ve seen the recipes for the no knead breads but have yet to try them. With my wrist issues it might be the next thing I should start looking into.

The one nice thing about using a bread machine for kneading is that it will also do a rise for you as well. Not really needing to find a warm place to stash your dough in while it rises.

What do you think? Convenience vs. tradition?

Apr 6, 2009 - File Icon Cake, Dessert   Comment Icon Comments Off on Sweet Brownies

Sweet Brownies

My husband likes to “hint” at things he wants me to try and bake. I know he has an evil scheme to get an idea in my head and to get me to make it a reality. In my head it’s almost a conspiracy, an evil plot to do his bidding in the kitchen.

What can I say? I’m just a sucker for a pretty face.

So he puts in my head something tasty. Brownies. Sometimes it is posed as a curiosity, like “What do you make brownies from that don’t come in a box?” For someone who never bakes I guess that can be a pretty common question. Most people now only know how to bake from a box. Add water and go! Yeah, not me as much anymore.


I went through my pile of cookbooks looking for a good brownie recipe. You wouldn’t believe how many different ones I had to choose from. Some books had 2-3 recipes! Most had things like nuts added to them, but I omitted those (allergy).

I finally decided on a recipe from a cookbook that was actually given to me by my husbands Grandma. She seems to have adopted me and likes giving me her cookbooks, but I think she’s just happy I’m not crazy and I keep the husband happy.

I took the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens new Cook Book circa 1953.
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Apr 5, 2009 - File Icon Main Dishes, Marinade/Spice Blends, Seafood   Comment Icon Comments Off on Marinated Salmon

Marinated Salmon

For dinner Saturday, I decided to do something that I had not done in several years since living with my family.

Italian marinated salmon.

Marinating Salmon

Whenever we would make salmon, we would let it marinade in Italian salad dressing. We liked to use a really good one, like the one at Olive Garden (you can buy it by the bottle from the restaurant).

We usually would marinate the salmon for a few hours before grilling it. It’s always easiest to just stick it in a zip-top bag and put in just enough dressing to cover the meat on all sides. It always tasted wonderful.

Now that I no longer live near my parents, two states away now, I started just using a little garlic, pepper and dill on my salmon and cooked it in a pan inside. I really am NOT a grill-master.

But Saturday I wanted what I remembered from home. I think everyone does that at some point, comfort food I guess. I bought some dressing and made my yummy food.

It definitely tastes different than just using the spices. The vinegar in the dressing gives it a slightly tangy and sweet flavor all at once. Finishing the meal with some broccoli drizzled in lemon juice and roasted potatoes. YUM!

Cooked Salmon