Fully-Baked Session #3

Today January 9, 2013

Hello all! I have to admit that I haven’t been the world’s best blog owner, as I have looked forward to writing a Happy Anniversary segment; I got all ready with my cup of hot earl grey tea in my comfy pj’s and FINALLY sit down and sweep aside everything else I HAVE OR WANT to do, I realize that in the happenings of Christmas and my sudden change of holiday plans I never posted our third baking club session and ALL the lovely photos…so first things first!!!:) lol

I will be honest, I started on December 12th writing and then I stop mid sentence and I am not sure what all I wanted to say (thankfully it went to draft & here I am now!) …so I’m going to give it my best try to conger up all from that lovely day (a lot has gone on in my life in less than a month and I will tell more about that in my next blog (promise! promise!)!!). I’m not going to change anything from this point but just add to it:

December 12, 2012

I try and try to get on here more and write more…I defiantly take a lot of pictures (so that’s a plus). But the reality is: when I feel like writing and when it pops in my mind and I have the extra time all happen at once, well that’s a real treat. Like now…I’m up a little early (4:30am), and I don’t really need to show my face till 7am… This as a general rule doesn’t happen THAT often:)

What’s on my mind is that last Saturday, I packed up my baking supplies (YES-even my beloved KitchenAid mixer!) and I put them in a tote in my car. It really felt like I was on the show “Cake Wars”….it was a great feeling. Actually packing up all my stuff was a great thing in two ways, 1st off, I got to see everything I have all together and get to realize I’m missing or low on some pretty important items. LIKE cinnamon…I’m ALL OUT!!! But luckily I was traveling across town to my lovely friends, Anthony and Dana Haskett’s!!! They are baker extraordinaires and they had everything and MORE:) 2nd….I got to clean my baking shelf (which is always a PLUS)!

On my way to the Haskett’s I was thinking how great it would be to just enjoy my friends and bake something simple…. well that’s a good thought and I realize I have such good intentions! But alas that is not how it went down…I had so many recipes on my mind, good old faithful holiday originals and some new ones I had been scoping out!! What was special about this day of baking is that I was joining together with some friends that are a part of The Friends House Ministry where I live. The very next evening we had planned to all have soup together (about 20-30 people) and then go caroling to a nearby nursing home and also to our surrounding neighbors. We call this gathering Soup & Sing and have it at The Friends House every month for fellowship and fun (and open to for anyone to attend). The Haskett’s were also making goodies for the teachers at the Elementary School where Anthony is doing an internship at as the Principle. So I had huge expectations on some major baking going down. I was excited to say the least!!

Baking Club Travels!

Baking Club Travels!

My most devoted member Melissa had invited her mom to come join us and I was so looking forward to that! I wanted her baking wisdom and to get to know her better. I think what better way to get to know people than the intimacy of creating together in a nice clean and warm kitchen!!! Also, I had not spent much time with Anthony and his wife Dana much either and that is whose house we were going too!! Joy joy joy!! And boy was it delightful, a beautiful home with a giant tree full of colors galore!!! They have an amazing kitchen and they are FOODIES for sure:)

(Left to Right- Melissa, Karri, Anthony, Dana,and missing Tami) Fully-Baked Club

(Left to Right- Melissa, Karri, Anthony, Dana,and missing Tami) Fully-Baked Club

So much fun! A general rule in our club is to come with a few ideas and then sit down with a hot cup of COFFEE (or any other beverage) and make a decision. Decision making isn’t my strongest suit and you know I have come accustomed to this, it grows on you…I don’t give myself too many options to make it a tad bit easier on myself. And I will add that spontaneous is difficult for me in this process. I second guess myself and well then I feel I may have made the wrong choice. Anyways this day was no different from any other for me….I had some easy and some challenging recipes as did the others. So I did relax a bit and decided to just go with the flow. I had a recipe for a Jewish pastry called Rugelach and I had chosen this because I had tried one at Whole Foods recently, it was divine! It really just melted in my mouth…the combo of soft but flaky, walnutty, cinnamon sugar, and raisins bursting was the BEST!! My brother had recently gave me a HUGE gunny sack full of black walnuts in the shell and I had made it a goal to find recipes containing walnuts…and I also gave them away as much as I could. They actually made great gifts over the holiday season. Really who doesn’t like to get a bag of nuts??? So thanks Bubbie!! He’s my only brother and he is younger but bigger than me.. when he teases me he sometimes reminds me by saying “I’m your little brother, I’m suppose to tease you like no one else can!” And that is the absolute truth…some nicknames are ONLY reserved for him!!! I took some picture of the process and end result…

My prep for Rugelach!

My prep for Rugelach!

My brother’s lady Alexis calls them pinwheels because it’s easier to say!

Rugelach baking!

Rugelach baking!

This recipe is time-consuming and it does need to be refrigerated a few different times…but it is soooo worth it. To get the recipe I used, go here. I can’t recall what else I made, but I know I made something else:) Anthony made all sorts of cookies that were delicious, and some amazing lemon shortbread that I could have eaten everyone had they not been reserved for his teachers! Dana was our awesome house mom and fed ME (everyone else seemed to not be hungry but I not ate much beforehand) and made a tasty ham and bean soup that I begged her to bring to soup and sing the next night!! I am recalling that Anthony tried a recipe that we all thought would be great and then it didn’t turn out like he wanted…you know how that is when you can’t figure out what went wrong and why a recipe is bad that should have been good. He probably remembers the name of those cookies but I don’t.

Melissa made delicious pecan sandies and chocolate covered pretzels. We all learned not to dip the whole pretzel or it’s just a waste of melted chocolate and a MESS:) Thanks for that lesson although it caused you to only have the virtue to dip 12 or so pretzels. In my book you get an A+! Melissa is the type of girl who is okay with making mistakes and learning from them… she doesn’t get to upset. Me on the other hand, it just kills me to error in the kitchen! It could be because everyone in my family is super awesome in the kitchen and I want to have talent like them! I want to say that someone made sugar cookies and I made it home with them unfrosted and frosted them the next day before our caroling event….I think we served them to our caroling crew! We bagged up all our goodies to hand out to our neighbors, which I loved doing. I enjoy giving people things:) You can see some of the beginnings of our bags of goodies. I obsessed over making labels to go with them, and they turned out okay!

Here is the full extent of our combined baking!

Goodies galore!

Goodies galore!

And lucky for me I found some other pictures too, I recently got a new phone and didn’t have my photos backed up to iCloud so I’m thankful that I had loaded some up to WordPress when I was prepping this blog post!! So there you have it! It was a success and I have been thinking of when the 4th session will be and my goal is still to have the baking club once a month, especially while I’m in the masters program. While at the soup and song the following night I met two young ladies that were interested in joining us in our baking club and I got to talking about doing a crafting club and to my surprise that very next week I had three gals come over and we made Christmas cards before I left for my holiday travels. It was grand…so I’m considering that as well. These are all things that I consider a joy and delight to facilitate and be involved in, so it is a great stress relief and self-care for me, AS LONG AS I DON’T GET ALL STRESSED OUT OVER THE DETAILS:) than I consider this to be something AWESOME that I want to continue doing:) Please feel free to comment and share with me any ideas you have!!

chocolate dipped pretzels the conservative way

chocolate dipped pretzels the conservative way

sugar cookies

sugar cookies

CHOCOLATE covered pretzels (ok there is more than 12..)

CHOCOLATE covered pretzels (ok there is more than 12..)

Love, Tami xo

p.s.  Be on the look out for my upcoming Happy Anniversary/Birthday post.  I will post it before the end of the weekend:)  I will be celebrating by giving the first FIVE commenters of that post a surprise gift in the mail!!!  I’m so excited….why??? you ask…well I love giving to people and blessing them!  It’s one of my LOVE languages.  What’s yours??  If you don’t know or haven’t heard of this before, than go here to see what I’m talking about and take the quiz for yourself.  Ta Ta!!

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Making Egg Drop (flower) Soup

Thank you to all of you who have been waiting so patiently for me to give the instructions for this tasty, healthy, and simple soup.  I am a soup lover and I find it difficult to relate to anyone who has an adversion to it.  Like my irish twin, Hugh Alan the 3rd….he does not like soup one bit and I could eat it for any meal.  He says soup is for sick people ONLY (and when he says that-I think he’s talking about sick in the head)   Ok….he’s intittled to his own opinion.  But for the rest of you who like soup, this recipe is for you!  This is such a simple recipe and it comes to me from my housemate Shurong who is studying Education here in the US and is from China.  She will admit that she is not a traditional Chinese chef, but let me tell you, her ways in the kitchen are completely the opposite of mine.  The way she chops her food, washes it, and even the way she cleans up the kitchen.  To make this soup, all you need is heat, water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, eggs, any kind of meat, mushrooms and onions.  I add more veggies ALWAYS!  I documented some of my steps the last time I made this and now I am going to share it with you…FINALLY.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of water

1 cup pork, chicken, or beef (thinly sliced) or shrimp or tofu

2 eggs

1/2 cup green onions (sliced)

1 cup mushrooms (quartered)

1 cup cilantro (cut finely)

3 cloves crushed garlic

1 tsp fresh chopped ginger root

soy sauce

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

olive oil

optional:  tomatoes, brocolli, peppers, zucchini, bean sprouts, celery, water chestnuts, and anything else you like.

1.  Fill a large pot with water and turn heat to med-high, I like to get it simmering before I add anything.

2.  While the water is heating up I get all my other ingredients cut up and ready to go.  I ususally cut the meat up first and sit it in a bowl and sprinkle soy sauce, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  I use a new cutting board for all my veggies.  I slice them up in tiny pieces no matter the style of cut I’m using.  Shurong taught me a few different ways to slice things up so they look more appealing! I put all the veggies on a plate or in bowls till I am ready to use them, so I have lots of room on my cutting board (I use to just leave it all on the cutting board- but Shurong taught me that I need space on my cutting board).    Next I crack the eggs into a bowl (i like to add some salt and pepper) and beat up with a fork and set aside.

slicing pork

slicing green onions

cleaning veggies

veggie prep

beat eggs

spices

3.  Next I turn up the water a little higher so that it boils a little stronger than a simmer.  I add the meat first and let it boil alone for a few minutes.  Then I start adding the veggies, in no specific order.

add the veggies

5.  Do not add any soy sauce to the actual soup on the pot, I know it may be tempting, but trust me…I’ve done it and it overpowers the soup.  It’s best to add it at to individual bowls upon eating it.  Let the soup simmer-boil for atleast 15-20 minutes.  I like my soup with the veggies slightly crunchy…to do this I add some of my veggies near the last few minutes of cooking.

6.  After you feel like the soup has cooked to your liking keep it boiling pretty steady and add the eggs…I like to pour them in nice and slowly so I can see the eggs become flowers.  Let boil for about 5 minutes and now it is ready to serve.

7.  Serve with your favorite Chinese dishes and hot and steamy rice or noodles.

after adding eggs (egg flowers)

Enjoy!!!! -TMc

Upcoming club details:

Ramekin Pumpkin Bread

Wow, I can’t believe how time can fly  by….actually that’s not true.  I know time flies by way tooooooooooo fast.  I had meant to blog a few things before my 2nd actual baking club.  But it didn’t happen and I’m not going to be too hard on myself (something he is teaching me!).

So tomorrow I’m hosting my 2nd baking club and I have a few more interested bakers!  How fun!  Tomorrows theme is fall…..which I’m so excited about.  Instead of watching some TV for down time last night, I decided to bake a pumpkin cake, what I realized is I am sooooo low on baking dishes.  I used some ramekins hoping they would pop right out once golden brown.  The house smelled so good and the activity did recharge me.  I know that sorta sounds strange, that expending all that energy and feeling like it did something good for me.  My theory is that because I enjoy this so much that when I do it (and even the cleanup involved) I feel like some emptiness inside myself gets filled!!  I’ll post a photo of my delicious ramekin pumpkin cake and vow to be a better blogger.

Reminder:  I still have a few spots left if your local and you want to participate in the club tomorrow.  Let me know and I will give you the details:)  

 

Giving back a dish.

I am giving my good friend back her dish she let me borrow. I would really like to make her something, but I don’t have much time. So I put a cup of one of my favorite gluten free baking mixes in a ziplock and included the rest of the instructions on a note card:) I think I will put Saran wrap over the top:) what do you think? Have you any other ideas?

Fresh Salsa

Upon the request of my dear friend Cari McWilliams I am posting this picture of the salsa I made last night along with the recipe.  This picture was shot by Tami on her iPhone using the FREE Instagram application.  All the vegetables, besides the garlic, cilantro, and spices were provided by Dale and Tammy Medley (they have an amazing garden)– Thank you:)  This is very easy…and I think you will like it!

Needed:

  • 10 fresh garden tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion (any color)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 jalapenos
  • 1 bell pepper
  • a bunch of cilantro
  • lime juice
  • a dash of cumin
  • a dash of salt
  • a dash of pepper
  • a dash of red pepper flakes
  • a dash of chili powder
Wash all your vegetables and lay out to air dry.
I use a food processor but you can also use a blender.
Cut the core out of the tomatoes and slice in half.
Cut up other vegetables.
Place in food processor/blender with seasonings and lime juice.
I like to use the pulse function on my food processor.
Pulse up the vegetables till it is the texture you like.
Take a taste test with a tortilla chip and add anything extra to give it the desired flavor you like.
I like my salsa pretty spicy and a little on the saucy chunky side.  Enjoy!

Biscuit and Egg Bake

Ingredients:

  • 8 frozen or refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped mild green chile
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped red & yellow peppers
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese blend, such as Cheddar Jack or a similar combination (I like to use sharp)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°.Butter a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish. Split the biscuits and line the baking dish with the biscuit halves (or quarters). 

Brown sausage in a large skillet with onions, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. . Sprinkle the sausage mixture evenly over the biscuit layer.  Add the vegetables and seasonings.  Top with the cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk with salt and pepper. Pour over the cheese layer. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until set. A knife should come out clean when inserted in the center.
Serve with sliced tomatoes or fresh salsa on the side. Serves 6 to 8.

(I like to omit the meat and just do peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach and any veggies I’m feelin…..I also like to cut the biscuits into fours)….This dish cuts really well and usually gets all gobbled up:) I have tried it with crumbled bacon which is really good too!!! Enjoy!

recipe adapted from about.com.