Thoughts

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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Feb 28, 2013

Buttery Dinner Rolls

These rolls are very similar to those that you get if you visit a Texas Road House restaurant.



  2 1/4 Tsp Yeast                                            1/3 Cup Sugar
  1/2 Cup Warm Water                                   8 Cups Bread Flour
  2 Cup Milk                                                  2 Tsp Salt
  3 Tbl Butter                                                2 Large Eggs

Dissolve yeast in water and let sit for 5 minutes in a large bowl. Warm milk until about 110 degrees and add to the yeast.  Stir in sugar and 1 cup flour.  Beat this with a heavy spoon for 10-15 minutes.  Let stand about 10 minutes.

Add the melted butter, eggs (lightly beaten), and salt and beat well. At this point you'll want to add enough flour to form a soft dough, a cup at a time, until it forms a soft dough.  Let this mixture sit about 15 minutes.  While the dough is resting, grease a large bowl.

Knead the dough until smooth (if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, it takes about 5 minutes).  Put the dough in the greased bowl. Cover the dough and let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes, until it is double in size.  Beat down. Put the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it out into portions for shaping.  Once all dough is divided, return to the first portion formed and shape into a small roll.  Place on a greased baking sheet and repeat with all portions.  Let them rise until doubled in size, about 20 to 30 minutes. While rising, heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Baste with butter immediately.

Feb 27, 2013

Cabbage and Bacon

Everything is better with Bacon, right?  Including cabbage and peas.  This quick and easy side goes well with yesterday's pork.  Serves 8.



  8 Slices Bacon                                                      3 Tbl Butter
  8 Cups Cabbage, Coarsely Chopped                       1 Tsp Salt
  1 Cup Frozen Peas                                                1/2 Tsp Pepper

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pot; let cool, then crumble and set aside. 

Add butter to the bacon fat - melt butter then add remaining ingredients to the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until cabbage is tender, stirring frequently.

Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, toss, and serve.

Per Serving: 119 Cal (57% from Fat, 17% from Protein, 26% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 8 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 3 g Sugar; 49 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 591 mg Sodium

Feb 26, 2013

Saged Pork Chops

These pork chops are quite flavorful and juicy, thanks to the bread crumb mixture.  Goes well with tomorrow's cabbage recipe and dinner rolls.



  1 Cup Panko                                                                            1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  1 Ounce Parmesan Cheese, Grated                                          1 1/2 Tbl Horseradish Mustard
  1 Tbl Fresh Sage, Chopped                                                      2 Large Eggs
  1/4 Tsp Salt                                                                              4 Pork Chops

Combine bread crumbs, cheese, sage, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish.  Whisk eggs until frothy, whisk in mustard.  Pour into a third bowl.

Trim the pork chops.  Working with 1 pork chop at a time, dredge pork in flour, dip into egg mixture then coat pork completely with bread crumb mixture; set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining pork chops.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned and done.


Per Serving: 447 Cal (44% from Fat, 31% from Protein, 25% from Carb); 34 g Protein; 21 g Tot Fat; 8 g Sat Fat; 9 g Mono Fat; 27 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 174 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 584 mg Sodium

Feb 25, 2013

Potato and Bean Soup

Slow cooked soup - thrown in the slow cooker before work, eat when you get home.  What could be simpler, or better on a cold winter day.  I know today seems like spring, but you never know what March will bring.  Like to take soup for work?  Put it in the slow cooker Sunday night, put it in 5 individual bowls Monday morning, take one each day.  Nutrition below is for 6 servings.



15.5 Ounce Black Beans, Drained                                                15 Ounce Diced Tomatoes
  -And Rinsed                                                                              1tbl Garlic, minced
  3 Cups potatoes, Diced                                                              2 Tsp Cumin
  6 Cups Chicken Stock                                                                1 Tsp Oregano
  4 Ounce Chopped Chilies                                                           1 Tsp Thyme

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients.  Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours.


Per Serving: 275 Cal (11% from Fat, 29% from Protein, 60% from Carb); 20 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat; 42 g Carb; 9 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 69 mg Calcium; 5 mg Iron; 2023 mg Sodium

Feb 24, 2013

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls



I made these in honor of national stick bun day.  My apologies to those expecting the recipe the next day.  These have a mild pumpkin flavor and a wonderful pumpkin color.  When you frost the rolls, put the cooling rack over parchment paper.  The excess caramel frosting will fall onto the paper and dry.  Keep those in case some of the individuals enjoying the rolls like extra frosting.


 
For Dough:                                                          2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  1/2 Cup 1% Milk                                                1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  5 Tbl Butter                                                         4 Tbl Butter, Melted
  1 Cup Pumpkin Puree                                        For Caramel Frosting:
  1/4 Cup Sugar                                                      8 Tbl Butter
  1 Tsp Salt                                                             1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  2 Large Eggs, beaten                                            1/4 Cup 1% Milk
  4.5 Tsp Yeast                                                       1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  2 Cups Flour                                                        1 Pinch salt
  2 Cups Bread Flour                                              1 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
For Filling:                                                            
  2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed                                          

For Dough:
Melt the butter.  Add the milk.  Heat or cool until it is about 110 degrees.  Add the yeast and set aside.

In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar and salt.  Beat in eggs.  Add milk mixture to pumpkin and beat with electric mixer until well mixed.  In separate mixing bowl, combine flours. Add half of flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Beat mixture on low speed 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft).  Put dough into a lightly  greased bowl, turning so all sides are greased.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  

Punch dough down. Turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy to handle.  On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 24x10-inch rectangle.   


Brush with melted butter.  In small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg then sprinkle over the butter.   


 Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jelly roll style. Pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut roll into 24 slices, about 1 inch wide each. Place rolls in a 9-inch round baking pans that have been buttered.


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover rolls and let rise until nearly doubled.   


Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pan to a cooling rack, making sure to turn upright.


While the rolls bake, make the frosting:
In small saucepan, heat butter and milk until butter is melted.   


Stir in brown sugar.


Cook over medium low heat 1 minute. Transfer to small mixer bowl and cool mixture until you remove the rolls from the oven.   



When the rolls are cooling, stir in vanilla, salt, and confectioner's' sugar. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more confectioner's' sugar for desired consistency.  As soon as the frosting is done, pour over cinnamon rolls.

Feb 20, 2013

Salted Peanut Chews

  From Pillsbury.com:

www.pillsbury.com


    16 1/2 Oz refrigerated sugar          2 Tsp vanilla

    -cookies                                         10 Oz peanut butter chips

    3 Cup miniature marshmallows    2 Cup crisp rice cereal

    2/3 Cup corn syrup                       2 Cup salted peanuts

    1/4 Cup butter or margarine    


1.Heat oven to 350F. In ungreased 13x9-inch pan, break up cookie dough. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of

pan to form crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown

2.Remove partially baked crust from oven. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows evenly over crust.

3.Return to oven; bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until marshmallows just begin to puff. Cool while making topping.4.In large saucepan, heat corn syrup, butter, vanilla and peanut butter chips over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and peanuts. Immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows; spread

to cover. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows.


Feb 19, 2013

Roasted Asparagus

When at the beach with our friends, I learned that they cooked asparagus by simply coating it in olive oil, adding a little salt and putting it on the grill.  I wanted asparagus with our chicken, but I wasn't using the grill.  Soooooooo, the chicken was baking, I thought "why can't I just roast the asparagus with the chicken".

Using the 400 degree oven that went with the chicken, I had fairly narrow asparagus, so it was done in about 15 minutes.  Manage the cooking time to cook it to your liking.


Feb 18, 2013

Orange Ginger Baked Chicken

This chicken is impossibly easy, you just have to remember to marinade it.  I like to use my food saver marinade container, but it could just as easily be done in a pan.  If marinading in a pan, I turn about half way through.  This could also be made with 4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs.  We had this with an oven roasted asparagus for a nice rounded meal.



  1 Lb Chicken Breast, Boneless,                                               1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  -Skinless                                                                                  1 Tsp Salt
  1 Large Orange                                                                        1 Tsp Pepper
  1/4 Cup Lemon Juice                                                               1/2 Tbl Honey
  2 Tsp Fresh Ginger, Minced                                                     1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
  2 Tsp Garlic, Minced                                                               6 Ounce Rice Noodles, Cooked To
  1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce                                             -Package Directions

Cut chicken breast into 4 ounce pieces.  Place in a marinade container.  Use a microplane grater to remove orange zest from the  orange and place over chicken.




Juice the orange.   Peel the ginger and grate on a microplane grater.

Before Peeling:



After peeling:

 

In a small bowl, combine orange juice, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, salt pepper and honey.


Pour over the chicken.  Marinade for 2 to 24 hours.


When done marinading, heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place chicken in a baking bag.  Add chicken stock to the marinade and add to baking bag.   



Seal/vent bag per manufacturers instructions.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until temperature is 165 degrees.  Serve over rice noodles.

Feb 17, 2013

"Don't Tie - Win"



The title of this post is the slogan adopted by Lock Laces.  Hubby came home from work with a package of Lock Laces.  One of his coworkers was at a vendor fair and the next booth was giving samples of Lock Laces.  Knowing that I like to walk distances, this coworker picked up a sample to give to me.  I'll admit, I was skeptical.  With feet that swell horribly, combined with narrow heels and high arches, the way I lace and tie my shoes can really cause issues if not done correctly.  I was afraid that they would either be too tight OR unable to be tightened enough to prevent heel movement without causing arch pain.  I was so skeptical that I put my shoe laces in the packet that the Lock Laces came in until I had some time to try them.

The idea of lock laces is to put them in your shoes, set them to the length that you need them, then cut off the ends and put them in a small clip.  I'll admit, I used them for almost a month before I made the final cuts, but now I am hooked.  Not only do they keep my shoes secure, they allow me to get out the door quicker and actually give me more flexibility for foot swell.  I have cut off my ends and ordered several more pairs.  So now, I don't tie, I win more flexibility with shoe fit and time in the morning.

Recently, there was a contest to win Lock Laces.  I entered this contest, but I did not win free laces.  What I did get was a coupon for 40% off that I could share with friends and family.  That information is below.  Try these laces, you will like them.  I know I did, and I already used my coupon.

We'd like to extend a  special 40% savings to you as a THANK YOU for participating in our first national magazine sweepstakes. Share this offer with your friends and families, too.  Now through February 20, 2013 at www.locklaces.com
  
Enter code: WINTODAY to receive 40% off your order. Offer only valid at locklaces.com. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Shipping and Handling are not included. Single use coupon code. Expires 02/20/2013 at 11:59pm EST.

Feb 14, 2013

Chicken Tortellini Soup

The beauty of this soup is that you can make it with any tortellini you like.  It calls for refrigerated tortellini, but dried tortellini could be used if cooked first.  You could even use mini ravioli.



  10.5 Cups Chicken Stock                                     9 Ounce Refrigerated Tortellini
  2 Cups Frozen Corn                                            2 1/2 Cup Chicken, Cooked And
  14.5 Ounce Red Pepper Tomatoes                                      -Shredded

In a large saucepan, combine stock, corn and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the pasta and chicken; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Feb 13, 2013

Herbed Focaccia Bread

Most of the time we have soup, we like to have a little bread to soak up remaining broth.  This focaccia bread fits that role nicely.  You may omit the cheese, as you like.



  2 1/4 Tsp Active Dry Yeast                                                     1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
  1 Cup Warm Water                                                                  1/4 Tsp Dried Rosemary, Crushed
  2 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour                                                    3 Tbl Herbed Olive Oil
  1 Tsp Salt                                                                                 2 Clove Garlic, Minced
  1 Tsp Sugar                                                                              2 Tbl Parmesan
  1 Tsp Dried Oregano                                                               1 1/2 Cup Mozzarella
  1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme                                                              

Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl. Let proof for 5 minutes.

In large bowl for your stand mixer, stir together flour, salt, sugar, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary and black pepper.  Add the yeast mix and 1 tbl herbed olive oil to the dry ingredients and combine.  When dough has pulled together, use mixer to knead until smooth and elastic.



Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover and let rise in warm place 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Punch dough down, place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, non stick foil or greased.  Pat dough into 1/2-inch thick rectangle (doesn't have to be perfect).   



Prick dough with fork.  Brush top with remaining olive oil.  Spread minced garlic over the bread, then sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.   


Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.

Feb 12, 2013

Chicken and Bean Soup

With the recent temperature drop, combined with holes in our roof waiting on new skylights to be installed, it has been chilly in our house.  To combat this, we have had a lot of soup.  This soup is not quick, but it is well worth the wait.  If you are short on time, you could add canned northern beans.  If you do not have cooked chicken, buy a bone in chicken breast, put it on top of the bean pan, add more water until the chicken is covered and simmer it with the beans.



  1 Cup Dry Northern Beans                                 1/2 Tsp Rosemary, Crushed
  8 Cups Water                                                     1/2 Tsp Salt
  1 Tbl Leek, Minced                                            1/4 Tsp Pepper
  3/4 Cup Fennel, Diced                                        4 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
  1 Cup Carrots, Chopped                                     2 1/2 Cups Chicken, Cooked
  1 Tbl Garlic, Minced                                          14.5 Ounce Petite Diced Tomatoes

Rinse beans and drain.  Put into a large saucepan with 8 cups water.  Bring to a boil reduce heat.  Simmer for at least an hour and a half. 

After an hour, begin preparing the leek, fennel, carrots, etc.  Put all ingredients into another pot with the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Drain the beans and add to this pot.  Add the chicken.  Simmer until the beans are as soft as you would like them.

Feb 11, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Hubby LOVES buffalo chicken, and lasagna is right up his alley, too.  Why not combine the two?  Believe it or not, it turns out well.  Control the level of heat with the amount of Red Hot and marinara you use.  I used a full cup of Frank's Red Hot Extra Hot, but you could use regular Red Hot mixed with Marinara to your tastes.



  1 Box Lasagna Noodles                                                           2 Cups Bell Pepper, Diced
  4 Cups Chicken Breast, Shredded                                            15 Ounce Low Fat Ricotta
  1 Cup Red Hot                                                                         2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese,
  28 Oz Marinara                                                                        -Shredded

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the noodles to package directions, drain.

In a large glass bowl, combine the chicken and red hot.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the cheeses.

Spread some sauce into the bottom of a lasagna pan.  Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles. Put 1/2 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles, add a layer of peppers, add a little sauce, cover with another layer of noodles.  Top these noodles with the chicken then another layer of noodles.  Add the remaining cheese, then the peppers.  Top with noodles and the remaining sauce.  Cover  pan with foil.  Bake for 45 minutes or until heated through.

Feb 10, 2013

January = 135 miles

This year will feature monthly updates of my location, starting in Helena, Montana and working toward Olympia, Washington.  As I learned on my trek from North Dakota to Helena, it will take some time.  In addition, the affect of winter on my lungs is a bit harsh, and breathing is important, so distances are reduced.

135 miles puts me due south of Flathead Lake in Montana.  Per their website, it is the largest natural lake in the western United States with 160 miles of shoreline and covers nearly 200 square miles.  It is fed by two rivers and is 300 feet deep.  There are two scenic highways that pass the lake and driving around the lake can make for a beautiful day.  Boating, fishing, hiking the nearby forest all would combined for a beautiful stay.

Feb 9, 2013

Local Shopping - and Eating

Next up in our tour of Lemoyne - LUNCH.  We had a wonderful, casual lunch at the Pizza Grille.  The menu is quite varied with salads, pizzas, sandwiches and entrees to entice anyone.  Pizzas can be made with regular or wheat crust.  There are three locations, the one in Lemoyne is BYOB.  Between us, we had four different pizzas, two different soups and dessert to die for - PB pie all around, except me, I had raspberry cheesecake.  Barb and I traded a piece of pizza, and I was quite glad we did!  While i enjoyed my Spinach & Artichoke Pizza, her Greek Pizza was just as tasty.

Learn more at their website - http://thepizzagrille.com/.