Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Hiatus

I'll be taking a bit of a break from the blog for about a week.  I'm sure you have all heard of the horrible fires we've had here in central Texas.  This is the worst fire event in history that followed the hottest and driest summer on record.  We keep praying for some relief from the drought, but we're still having weather forecasts in the 100s with little to no rain in sight.  But I digress, I work for a restoration company.  In this case we work insurance companies to come in a remove all the smoke odor and try to get these people's homes back to a livable condition.  To make a long story short, I'm buried under mounds of paperwork but will promptly return to blogging once I have dug myself out.  My nephew Noah turns 1 next week so I'll have lots of posts ready to go! 

In the meantime, please take minute to donate to any of the following charities to help out the fire victims.  Many of these had their whole lives burned down to a pile of ash.  There are also many animal shelters that have set up in Bastrop to round up all the pets that were evacuated with their families and get them food and medical attention (and hopefully get them back with their families). 

Please keep Texas in your prayers.  We need it.

Austin Disaster Relief
Sufi Center of Bastrop
Bastrop Christian Outreach
Capital Area Food Bank
Austin Pets Alive

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pie for Two

It is so hard to cook for two without having a ton of leftovers.  Its even harder when it comes to sweets.  Clay and I don't eat them that often and it definitely isn't because we don't like them.  A lack of willpower has a bit to do with it.  As I wrote earlier, this past Monday was Clay's birthday.  I was going to do baked apples in the crockpot, but we were running around all day and I ran out of time.  I looked around my pantry and freezer and found some frozen pie dough and the Granny Smith apples I was going to use.  So, mini apple pies it was.  This was so easy and sooo cute!  

Mini Muffin Tin Apple Pies (makes two minis with extra apples for sauce)
1 roll of pre-made pie dough
2 apples (whatever kind you like to bake with) sliced or diced (diced in small chunks fits better in tins than sliced)
2 tsp of flour
2 tsp of sugar (I substituted with Splenda for baking)
1 tsp of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
a little butter
Turbinado sugar
Apple cider

Pre heat your oven to 425.  Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray.  Roll out your pie dough and cut out four circles a bit larger than your muffin holes.  I happened to have a tupperware that was the perfect size.  Mix your apples with the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg in a bowl until apples are coated.  Take two circles of dough and line two of the muffin holes with them.  Fill with each one with enough apple mixture so it is a little over the top (the apples will cook down).  I added a little tiny dollop of butter on top just like you would with a normal apple pie.  Take the remaining two circles of dough and cover the two pies.  Pinch the edges together to make sure the top and bottoms doughs are adhered and cut a few slits in the top for steam.  Brush with a little melted butter and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.  Bake in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  I used a butter knife to loosen the edges and they popped right out.  Then I took the leftover apples and cooked them down with some apple cider until the juice thickened up to form an apple sauce.  I plated the mini pie, added some frozen yogurt, and topped with the cider apple sauce.  Loved it.
p.s. warm apple pie and birthday candles DO NOT mix.  Clay pulled his candle out only to get the wick.  The rest of the candle had melted down into the pie.  I ate the one.  Oh the things we do for love.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wino Wednesday

I haven't posted a Wino Wednesday in awhile for a simple reason.   I found my new favorite cab, the Bota Box, at Costco for a little under $14.  $14 for 4 bottles on wine...that doesn't taste like rot gut?  I'm sold!  However, I don't know if having wine on tap is such a good idea.  Anyway, it has been so hot here that I thought I'd try something new.  I usually don't like white wine at all.  In fact, I refer to it as the White Devil.  It sneaks up on you and before you know it, you are "accidentally" a little tipsy.  But, I figured it was worth a shot, and a blog post.  I went for sparkling wine just to give it a little fizz.  I have to admit, I really liked it.  The bad part is that it does go down really easy, but it is refreshing on a hot day.  My favorite was to drop in a few blackberries and let them get soaked while I sipped.  The first one I got was il Dolce.  For about $10, it was a great buy.  Not overly sweet and so good with the berries.  It obviously went fast since I only got a picture of the empty bottle:

Tonight we found a stash of Martini sparkling wine up in the pantry.  I threw a bottle in the freezer while I cooked dinner so that it would be nice and chilly.  For some reason I thought I 'd mix it with some concord grape juice for a little spritzer.  I think I used a little too much juice the first time around.  It tasted like fizzy communion wine.  The second try was all sparkling wine with a splash of juice.  It was great and a nice change to our normal reds.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthday Breakfast of Champions

Today is Clay's birthday.  I wanted to make something really yummy and warm for his breakfast this morning.  We are HUGE breakfast people.  You'll never hear either one of us say that we forgot to eat in the morning!  His birthday also gives me a reason to use my blue plate.  My grandma had a plate like this and it was always a big deal to get to use it at her house:
I made it a few years ago at my friend's pottery painting birthday party and plan to use it for all our special days.  Moving on.  I found a recipe in my Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook my Tosca Reno for Carrot Bread.  It looked like a good choice for my birthday man.  I grated all the carrots last night so it would be at least that far along and mixed up the rest this morning.  It turned out great but is a little heavy.  I might do it in a muffin pan next time.  She also recommends topping it with unsweetened applesauce instead of butter which I think would be awesome.

Carrot Bread:
1 lb (454g) of loose sweet carrots, peeled and grated
1 1/4 cu of whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cu of cornmeal
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cu of flax meal (I already had flax seeds and just put them in the blender to grind into meal)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 egg whites
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp of canola oil
1/2 cu organic honey
3/4 cu skim milk or low fat soy milk
1/4 cu of raisins
1/4 cu of dried cranberries
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375.
In a small saucepan, place carrots and enough water to just cover them.  Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain, and let cool.
In a medium bowl, place dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, salt, flax meal, and baking powder.
In another bowl, whip egg whites until stiff.
In a small bowl put egg yolk, oil, honey, and milk.  Mix well.  Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add whipped egg whites and fold until just combined.  Add dried fruits and cooked carrots and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix, or your bread will be tough.
Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  
**After an hour, my tester came out clean but it was little on the uber moist side.  I cut the slices I was serving and put them on my pizza stone under the broiler just long enough to toast the top.  I buttered the warm bread and topped with banana slices.  Yum!

I completed the breakfast plate with scrambled Soyrizo eggs and turkey bacon.  Never heard of Soyrizo?  It is one of the best products EVER.  Regular chorizo is great, but so full of fat.  This cooks up just the same and the only difference I can tell is that my plate is not swimming in red grease.

I should've added a little watermelon for color, but I know he started the day with a full belly.