Bake Quest #1 for November 2010

Are we ready?¬† ūüôā¬† Here are the ingredients for the month:

Pears

-or-

Garlic

-or-

Cream cheese

I tried to use a couple of items where some may have allergies to some things or not all ingredients may be available in all areas.

 

When posting your recipe, include any helpful hints you may have found, like for instance, say a recipe says that it yields a certain amount but you found that it produced more or less, etc…¬† Also, give credit to the recipe provider.¬† It doesn’t matter if it’s your great aunt’s recipe or it came from a cook book.¬†¬† If you’ve stumbled across this page and would like to participate, please leave a comment and I’ll add you to the blog roll.

And finally, this is for fun so the sky is the limit!¬† Ready?¬† Set?¬† Bake!¬† ūüėÄ

Baking Up A Storm

Something has really gotten into me lately.¬† It must be the cooler weather.¬† It may be Fall here but we have our own version of it here in the desert.¬† It is also referred to as ‘Summer Lite’.¬† One can cook comfortably in the kitchen without sweating one’s butt off and one can leave the door open without freezing one’s butt off.¬† It’s a win-win situation in the Fall.¬† After burning all those calories at the race Saturday morning, I decided to try my hand at making a recipe for Apple Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes.¬† I found this on a blog located here: http://yummmmmy.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/apple-cinnamon-roll-cupcakes/¬† This was originally posted from Paula Dean’s website.¬† OKay, I have to admit these are quite possibly the best things I have ever tasted.¬† The recipe says that it yields 24.¬† Let’s say I had a little trouble in math and ended up with 12 jumbo cupcakes instead.¬† No one seem to mind though!

After these cook you make an icing from powdered sugar and apple cider.  To die for!   Hubby was in the cooking mood as well.  He roasted tomatillos, garlic, tomatoes, onions and peppers, and created a green salsa.  He hand roasted these over a grill in our backyard and I kicked myself later for not getting a picture of this process. 

As if this wasn’t enough, I also needed to try Kim’s Butternut Apple Ginger soup.¬† See the recipe here: http://kimkiminy.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/rainy-day-cooking-fest-part-one/

It was absolutely delicious!  To accompany it  I made Cheddar Garlic biscuits from a basic biscuit recipe that I doctored up some.

Here is the recipe for the biscuits:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2¬†cup of vegetable shortening (I used veggie oil)
  • 2/3 cup of milk

(*Optional: garlic infused butter) 

Preheat over to 450 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet.  Mix dry ingredients. Add the garlic and the cheese.  Cut in vegetable shortening using two butter knives or a dough blender until the mixture resembles course meal.  Add the milk all at once and stir until the dough forms a ball.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 14 times.  (The recipe calls for it to be rolled out to 1/4 inch and then cut with a round cookie cutter.  I did not do this.  With a wooden spoon I scooped out the mixture and dropped it onto the baking sheet).  Once that was complete, I used a little garlic infused butter my husband had made the night before to top them before baking.  It was really good!  Here is the recipe for that below:

*Butter Infused Garlic

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce

Melt butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir until garlic becomes translucent.  Remove from heat and add Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.  Mix well.  Using a pastry brush, top biscuits with the butter.

Bake biscuits for  12 minutes or until tops are golden brown.  Yields 16 biscuits.

(The basic biscuit recipe came from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook published in 1979.¬† The garlic infused butter is my husband’s own creation).

5K Race Day

Saturday morning was the day of my first 5K since sometime in my late 20s.¬† I have a girlfriend that is quite athletic and she keeps me on my toes.¬† There have been times when I’m on the verge of turning into a little diva but I am grateful that she has pushed me to beyond what I think I can do.¬†

This was taken by my hubby as I neared the finish line.¬† I didn’t see him as I was keeping ‘my eye on the prize’ that was the finish line.¬† In my age group I came in 12th out of 13 people running.¬† I was happy I wasn’t last.¬† ūüėȬ† It seem difficult at first but then at the last mile I seem to fall into a groove and kept going until the end.¬† My friend was also cheering me on.¬† She runs marathons and she of course finished about 10 minutes or so before I did (my time was 41:01).¬† She came in first for her age group.¬† I was so happy for her.

Abby came too.¬† The folks sponsoring the race (godaddy.com) gave Abby a bandana.¬† She could have been the official spokesdog.¬† She had lots of pictures of her taken that day and just people coming up to see who the cute doggie was.¬† Being that I live in the wild west, they had someone shoot a gun off to start the race.¬† Poor Abby didn’t know what to think of that and spent a great deal of time with her tail between her legs.¬† There were several races going on in addition to the one I did.

Here is my free t-shirt from the race and also the bib I wore with my number on it.¬† It was a great experience.¬† Running is definitely not one of my favorite things.¬† I’d rather do kick-boxing or Latin dance.¬† However, after that day I started thinking that maybe I could work on improving my time and developing more of an endurance.¬†¬† Not to mention that my body seems to react so positively after running.¬† There is another race in a few weeks.¬† I’m in!

How About a Bake Quest?

I got to thinking yesterday that where so many of us are posting recipes these days that maybe we could do some kind of monthly Bake Quest challenge just for fun.¬† It could be by dish (soups, salads, etc…)¬†or by ingredient, like say, sweet potatoes or whatever.¬† Then we could post a recipe using said ingredient.¬† I think it might be neat to see what everyone comes up with.¬†

Of course if you have a strong dislike for the chosen ingredient it’s not like you’d be obligated to make it.¬† It’s only for fun.

Anyways, just a few thoughts. 

Thoughts? Suggestions?¬† Ideas?¬† Am I crazy?¬† (wait, don’t answer that last one!)

All Good Dogs Should Go To Heaven…

…and not to be abandoned in the backyard when their owners leave.

A few nights ago upon return from getting the mail, I noticed my neighbor Yoshi (grandmother to the kids in the wagon from a previous post) walking with one of her grandsons over to the house across the street.¬† She told me she was going over to feed the dogs because the people living in this house had moved out and the property was being foreclosed on.¬† She had a plastic grocery bag filled with dog kibble and was throwing it over the fence.¬† She was concerned that they didn’t have water.

Where the neighbors in that house just moved out this past weekend I thought surely they must be returning to get their dogs.  This has to be a temporary situation.  I remembered seeing one of the little dogs chasing a little boy on a bike over the summer.  The little boy lived in the house with a ton of other people.  There were at least 4-6 vehicles parked at that house most of the time.  One was never sure who really lived there and who was just visiting.  Regardless, we all waved hello when coming or going.

Last night after work I saw that it still appeared no one was coming back to take these poor dogs.  I called the local animal shelter which directed me to the county shelter.  Someone, probably Yoshi, had already called them and a detective was coming out to investigate.  I heard the dogs barking from across the street still so they are definitely still there.  Poor things.  It rained last night, too.

When I think of my animals, my dog and ferret, they are my kids.¬† How could anyone just up and leave without them?¬† It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are.¬† There are places to surrender your pets if you can no longer keep them.¬† ¬† How lazy and irresponsible!¬† While I don’t usually hope bad things on people, I do hope they are found and given a fine.¬† There is absolutely no reason for a situation like this to ever occur.¬† No reason whatsoever.¬† Losers.

To Tip or Not To Tip; That Is My Question

Well dear neighbors, I do need your input on something that has vexed me this past week.¬† I will occasionally grab a salad for lunch from the small cafe downstairs in my building.¬† These are pre-made deals so I just go over, grab one out of the case and then head to the counter to pay.¬† I noticed on the receipt is an area for adding a tip.¬† Where no one is delivering me the salad, like say if I were at a sit down restaurant where an actual waiter/waitress were doing the serving,¬†I usually don’t add a tip.¬† However, there has been a nagging inside like I probably should add a tip.¬† Someone did¬†¬†make this salad.¬† Granted I was the one to do the serving .¬† So, should I leave a tip in a situation like that or no?¬† I haven’t exactly felt laser-like beams coming from the head cashier’s eyes as I’ve left the cafe, but I’m not sure if this is customary to not tip or if I’m coming off as a cheap skate.¬† Back when I was actually eating more bread and ordering sandwiches, I would leave a tip because these were of course made to order.¬† So….?¬† What do you think?¬† Do I tip in this situation or save that for the waitresses and waiters?

A Queen In The Making

¬† A few nights after work I have arrived home to my little neck of the world to see my young 12 year old neighbor being pulled in a wagon by her younger siblings.¬† Each time I laugh.¬† She is an exotic beauty of Mexican and Japanese descent.¬† While being pulled around in the wagon, she will often drape one arm over the side and have one leg crossed.¬† The younger boys don’t seem to mind.¬† To see her calls to mind how queens were often carried around in ancient times.

Over the weekend I needed to bring some groceries in.  She and her younger brothers were outside on the sidewalk and she was of course lounging in the wagon while being toted around.  The older boy pulled the wagon and the younger one pushed from behind.  The boys seem tireless.

I stopped with the groceries and looked over at the kids who were now parked at the end of the driveway.¬† “Okay, B.,” I say. ¬†“I need to know your secret.¬† How¬†is it that you are able to get these¬†boys to¬†pull you¬†around the neighborhood all the time?”

The older boy, smiling and with wagon handle still in hand announces, “We don’t mind.”

“Yeah,” ¬†B. says.¬† “I give them candy.”¬† With that she pulls out a piece of candy and hands it to the older boy.¬† Bit-o-Honey, if I recall.¬† He pops the candy in his mouth, sticks the wrapper in the pocker of his shorts and they’re off into the cul-de-sac.¬† The queen is good to her people.

Smart, that one.

A Quick Review

Saturday I got up and drove down to Tucson to the Sonoran Desert Museum where I was meeting Maureen for a fun day of picture taking¬†and conversation.¬† Unfortunately my only means of picture taking as of late has been¬†through the use of my cell phone, and wouldn’t you know it that when I was out walking the dog earlier that morning, I dropped the phone and it has not functioned well since.

Irregardless¬†of that, Maureen I know got some great shots.¬† It was a warm day without being too hot and we meandered through the different areas looking at different animals and plants indigenous to the desert.¬† Here are few of the shots I got.¬† I’m only going to post a few because Maureen’s will be amazing (also, my camera was not functioning very well).

This is a saguaro cactus.  I liked the fact that it has so many arms.  Sometimes they resemble people posing.

This little guy stationed himself up in a tree in the aviary.  His foot must be quite tasty!

It was so great meeting Maureen.¬† She is the first person I have ever met through blogging.¬† She is very knowledgeable on the different plants and animals and I learned so much.¬† I learned much about photography, too!¬† Before leaving for Tucson, it was discovered that we left the charger to the good digital camera back on a trip to Boston.¬† I definitely need to get a new one.¬† I’m missing out on way too much fun!

Maureen gave me a few notecards with pictures of her horse photography on them.¬† That was so incredibly kind!¬† One I recognize from her blog.¬† It is the close up of the horse’s face that has the blue eye.¬† Love it!¬† She also happen to have a spare printer that she needed to get rid of.¬† I was happy to take it off her hands because the food pantry I work at desperately needed one.¬† Thanks Maureen!

On Sunday I tried the Pumpkin Pie bites featured on Zoom’s blog.¬† They were absolutely delicious!¬† If you love pumpkin pie and cheesecake, this is a combination of both.¬† I have a picture of the finished product here.¬† The only thing I was supposed to do and didn’t was to cook only 12 at once, alternating muffin cups to prevent the crusts from sticking together.¬† This wasn’t too much of a problem though.

These were absolutely delicious.  Every Christmas I make an assortment of cookies and I think these will be added to my cookie making repertoire.  Thanks Zoom!