Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Im at school!

Yeah! NOT!!

Okay, okay, don't get me wrong, I do like school, its just that it takes up so much time!! Jeez! But, I do like the fact that your done in 4 years!

So, that is why I have not posted in a while, I have been packing, moving, unpacking, and going to classes. Phew!! So...I am going to share a recipe with everyone...Its Monkey Bread! I woke up this morning craving it! But, I can't make it yet...the pan is on its way!! (Snail mail lol!) lue of me caving it, I thought that I would post the recipe that I like the best and then accompany it with some pics of the last time I made it. (Sometime in the summer) I hope that will make all my readers happy! (the few that I have!) So, here is the recipe:

~Crazy Monkey Bread~
16 frozen yeast rolls
1 3 oz. pkg. dry butterscotch pudding
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Arrange the frozen bread into the bottom of a bundt pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle dry pudding mix over top. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour mixture over rolls. Let thaw and rise overnight or for several hours. Bake in a 350 F oven for 25 min. Turn out immediately onto a large plate. Enjoy!

**Note that you can add 1/2 c. chopped pecans to the bread. Sprinkle them into the sprayed bundt pan before you put in the frozen bread.
The dough as it rises
Interior inner-goodness shot

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

Sorry, It has been a while...

I have been busy, doing many things like baking, cooking, going to the cabin and going to the MN State Fair! That is by far the highlight of my summer! lol! Just kidding (wink wink to the Hubby!) So, on the the State Fair. For those who do not know, the MN State Fair has been held since 1959. And is one of the United States largest State Fairs. It is known for it agriculture, livestock, arts, and food. Oh! the food! It is plentiful and almost EVERYTHING is on a STICK!! Yup, you heard right, a stick.

Some of my personal favorites are: Pork chop on a stick, Spaghetti and meatball on a stick, Hot dish on a stick, Cheese cake on a stick, Deep-fried candy bars on a stick, Ostrich on a stick, um....there are so many other food items out there!

Some other good foods are: Cheese Curds, Sweet Martha's Cookies, Malt of various flavors, All-you-can-drink milk, Roast Corn, Alligator, Pronto Pup, and anything deep fried!! lol!

What I ate this year: Sauteed alligator with alligator shaped french fries. The alligator was so-so, a little chewy but not very flavorful, on the other hand the fries were GREAT! Very crisp and potato-y and seasoned just right! Nextwas a Strawberry Malt that I split, it was very yummy and you could taste the malted milk.

Then on to a Wild Game Bratwurst (Buffalo, elk, pork) with fried onions and mushrooms. Again, nothing too special here, too much bread and not enough meat. Then I split a mint and caramel

gelato cone and some Tom Thumb mini-doughnuts. Absolutely yummy! And to cap the night off I had a Raspberry Rage(?) smoothie. Sweet and delicious!

As you can tell, eating is a big thing at the fair. You walk so much! lol! I recommend splitting items so then you can maximize your sampling abilities! There is also the Mighty Midway, where you can ride off all of your food in one way or the other! My favorite are the water squirt gun games! I love those! Easy prize!

That's all that I have for now and I intend to post more on the baking, cooking and cabin portion, but its late and I'll have some more time to get to that later!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hello again, from a NEW location!!

I am HOME!!

Now by home I mean in the city where I was born and raised! And it feels good...
But I have a hole in my heart...I am away from my hubby...he had to stay in NC cuz' that's where he works...and I am going back to school. It hurts to leave...this summer was the longest consecutive time that we had spent together. And parting is such sweet sorrow...but one must move on...besides, what hurts you can only make you stronger right? Well, I believe that anyway.

This is coming into Charlotte
Leaving from Charlotte, you can see the water going across the window
Blue sky

See that white blob on the left? That's the Metrodome, where the Twinkies, I mean Twins play America's Past time, baseball.

That bridge on the right (the larger one) is the rebuilt 35W bridge that collapsed in August of 07'
So, without further adu, I give you pictures that I took while on the plane for your viewing pleasure! Aaaaannnnndddd.....a RECIPE!! I come home and start cooking! I am a true baker at heart! The first item that I baked was a cake for my bother-in-laws birthday (which was on Monday) It was basically a dark chocolate boxed cake and I subbed the water for Cherry Coke. The next recipe was an oat cookie with raisins and pluots. Pluots are a dried plum and apricot cross-breed. They were really really good! In fact so good that I got a request to make some more! Who-da thunk? is the recipe for the cookies

~Pluot Raisin Oat Cookies~
1 c. AP flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. rolled oats (quick or reg.)
1/3 c. raisins
1/3 c. pluots, chopped
4 tbsp. Crisco (or butter)
1/4 tsp. butter extract (eliminate if using butter)
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. mild honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. hot water
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, set aside. In another bowl combine raisins and pluots and stir to combine. Mix together Crisco and butter extract and place into a mixer (or just add butter). Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add honey, vanilla, and hot water and mix together. Add in flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add in oat and fruit mixture and stir. Drop by tbsp. onto a sprayed cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 12-14 min. or until golden brown. Enjoy!

**Feel free to substitute other combinations of dried fruit, I just used what I had on hand. Another good combination might be peach and crystallized ginger.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Here's one for you Cafe Du Monde!

Guess what I made tonight!


OK, I'll tell ya! BEIGNETS!! Ya know...those fluffy little pillows of fried dough that are promptly piled high with powdered sugar. They are yummy and you can make they at home for your own enjoyment!!

Beignets History: A beignet ([bεɲ.e] pronounced ben–YAY, from the Middle French word for "bump"), in American English, refers to a French doughnut being a pastry made from deep-fried dough and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Beignets are often found in, and typically associated with, the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Savory versions of beignets are also popular as an appetizer, with fillings such as craw fish or shrimp. They were brought to Louisiana by the Acadians.

The hubby and I found a box of beignet mix at World Market. It was amazing! He had no idea what it was at first, but I had seen then on an episode of Food Paradise - Doughnut Paradise on the Travel Channel. When I first told him how much powdered sugar was on them he didn't believe me...and then I showed him a pic and he was amazed!

This is the recipe from the back of the box:

(Back of the box)
2 c. beignet mix
7 oz. water
Cottonseed oil
Powdered sugar

Mix the beignet mix with the water in a small bowl. You may have to add a little more water or mix. The dough should be soft when mixed, like drop biscuit dough. Do not over mix. Scoop the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out to about 1/4 of an inch thick and cut into 2 inch squares. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a pan to 370 F. Fry the pieces of dough by drooping them into the oil and letting them puff up and then flip. It should only take about 1-2 min. total. Do not add too many dough pieces into the pan at once because the temp of the oil will drop too much. Place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain while cooking the rest of the dough. When done, place on a plate and pile high with powdered sugar...really pile it on...its fun and it tastes good! Enjoy!

After rolling out the dough
Fried little pillows of delight and yummyness!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Now what starts with the letter "C"?
"Cookie" starts with "C"!
Let's think of other things that starts with "C"!
Uh. . .Uh. . . Who cares about da other things?!
"C" is for Cookie that's good enough for me,
"C" is for cookie that's good enough for me,
"C" is for cookie that's good enough for me,
Oh! cookie, cookie, cookie starts with "C"!
Hey, You know what?
A round cookie with one bite out of it looks like a "C"
A round donut with one bite out of it also looks like a "C" but it is not as good as a cookie
Oh, and the moon sometimes looks like a "C" but you can't eat that So...
Cookie Cookie Cookie Starts with "C"
Cookie Cookie Cookie Starts with "C"
- Cookie Monster's Cookie Song
So, song aside...(sorry, couldn't resist!) I have some wonderful cookies recipes to share with thoes who care to ready and try them! I baked the Peanut Butter cookies some time last month for my hubby who requested them and absolutly LOVES them, so being a wonderful, I baked them for him and I did one up, as I baked some for his co-workers! I bet that was a wonderful suprise for them to come into work on a Friday and have some cookies waiting for them. (Hubby later came home and said that they were gone in a FLASH!)

~Hubby's Peanut Butter Cookies~
(adapted from a Betty Crocker Recipe)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. backed brown sugar
1/2 c. + a little extra creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. shortening (I used butter flavor)
1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened (I just doubled the shortening)
1 egg
1 1/4 c. AP flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of vanilla extract

Mix sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refigerate 1-2 hours or until firm. Preheat oven to 375 F. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place about 2-3 inches apart on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork dippen in sugar. Bake 9-10 min. or until light golden brown. Cool 5 min. then remove from cookie sheet. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

~Crispy Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookie~
(Basically taken off the back of a bag of choc. chips, and modified)
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened (I used salted)
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 bag chocolate chips
1/2 bag bag butterscotch chips
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in another bowl. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture in 3 sepeate incraments until completely combined. Stir in chocolate and butterscotch chips. Drop by heaping tbsp. onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 F. for 10-15 min until light golden brown. Rotate sheets if necessary for even browning. Remove from oven and place on paper towls to cool. Enjoy!

(Pictures of these to come soon!)
Some blue cookies in honor of cookie monster!

Righteous Restaurant Review #1


Its a new day and time for a new theme! That's right its time for a...Righteous Restaurant Review!! Da da ta da!!

On the menu today is: DeNoia's Pizzeria in Snead's Ferry, North Carolina. They serve your basic New York style pizza and the other various items that you would expects to find in a pizzeria like: calzones, cheese sticks, garlic knots, pasta, salads, sandwiches, Stromboli, and subs. You can buy their pizza by the slice or a whole pie.

What we ordered: A large 18'' pizza half-and-half. My half was pineapple, Canadian bacon, and onions, and the hubby's was pepperoni. We also got an order of garlic knots. Total price about $17.00.

What we thought: The pizza was HUGE!! 18-inches! that's a lot of pie! My side was good, nothing special though...I wish that there had been some sort of a "kick" or "wow factor" to the pizza, but it was just some really good classic NY pizza in North Carolina. I am assuming that the pepperoni was good as well considering that the hubby at his half! Here are some pictures for your viewing delight!!

Look at those amazing ingredients! Yummy!

The sauce on this pizza was very good! Not to much but not to little! Yummy again!

Yummy Meter: 4 out of 5 Yums!

**Since writing this review, the Hubby and I have tried many more things from this restaurant, including:

  1. Grilled chicken and onion calzone 
  2. Canadian bacon calzone
  3. Grilled chicken, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and hot peppers pizza
  4. Plain cheese pizza
  5. Garlic knots
  6. Garlic pizza fries
There are probably a few that I cannot remember as of right now. The draw to this place is that it is easy, close, delivers, and is NOT a dominoes...I dislike chain restaurants. DeNoia's is by far a much better place. I would recommend picking up the pizza, because delivery can leave you with a luke warm pie...not good!  (Update 9/15/10)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Quest For the BEST Banana Bread Recipe

I FINALLY found it!

You guessed it right! After 3 different recipes that I had, and 2 errors, I found, in my opinion, the best Banana Bread! So, story is like this: Hubby wants banana bread, and guess how he wants it, PLAIN! I know I know, plain is good, it is, but I like it with Chocolate Chips...bananas and chocolate are a combination made in HEAVEN! Yummy in my tummy! (licking lips)

Try #1: Banana bread Recipe 1 w/ blueberries. (I had to use them up but they had gone bad) And the bananas were to "ripe" so to speak. Recipe called for 2 bananas.

Try #2: Banana bread Recipe 2 plain and w/ chocolate chips. Again the bananas were to "ripe". They were good, but could be better. Recipie called for 2-3 bananas. But, get this! They got better the longer they sat out! I guess some properties of the bananas were still "breaking down". Cool huh?

Try #3: Banana bread Recipe 3
plain and w/ chocolate chips. All the stars had aligned themselves for this try. I have "prefect" banana bread bananas, they were browny-black and mushy...perfect. Recipe called for 3-4 bananas. They were AMAZING!

Try #3 was THE ONE!! I made it into little Banana Bread "Muffins" for lack of a bread/loaf tin. (I dont want to buy one until I go back home to MN-hubby wont use it.) And for all of you who have been wating so patiently, and for thoes who are about to explode with is the recipe:

~SB Bananana Bread~
3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
4 mashed black bananas
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3 c. AP flour
3-4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1-2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F. Beat eggs in a large bowl until light and frothy. Mix in oil and sugar and beat together. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in another bowl and whisk together. Pour flour mixture into egg/banana mixture and mix until combined. Add chocolate chips, depending on how chocolately you like your banana bread. Spray 2 12 cup muffin tins with nonstick spray. Pour batter into tins almost all the way to the top, leave a little rim of tin. (I only had one muffin tin so I baked mine in two batches.) Bake muffins for 20-30 min. or until a knife poked in the middle comes out clean. Let sit in the muffin tin for 5-10 min. and then turn out onto a metal rack to cool. Enjoy!!

**Again, these are amazing! Plain or with chocolate chips, and I am sure that nuts would be wonderful as well! Hope that you like them as much as I did!

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Experimentations with Yeast

Here is a recipe for some foccacia that I found on the internet. I had to use up some yeast, so here is one of the 3 results:

~Garlic & Rosemary Foccacia~
1 tsp. sugar
1 pkg. instant yeast
1/3 c. warm water
2 c. AP flour
2 tbsp. oilve oil
1/4 tsp. salt
Rosemary, dried or fresh
Garlic salt

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 min.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the flour and stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tbsp. at a time, until all of the water is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 min. Place dough into a an oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 475 F. Deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Pat or roll into a sheet and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Make little indentations in the dough with the tips of your fingers and brush the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary and garlic salt. Bake for 10-20 min. depending on how soft or crispy you like you foccacia. Enjoy!

**This foccaia was good, well, the top was at least, with the garlic salt. My hubby said that it needed to be a bit more salty, but I think that he was eating a bottom slice that did not have the garlic salt topping on it. Maybe I should add more salt? Or add garlic salt throughout the entire dough? Who knows...but I sure will try this recipe again!

The insides of the finshed product

Dough before baking with garlic salt and rosemary

First Friday Post. Randomness...Bittersweet...What else?

Hello again!

I am really getting used to this posting stuff...I just wonder why I didn't start sooner. I guess it was because, after surfin' the web and looking at all of those wonderful food blogs out there, I was somewhat intimidated...I admit it, I was! But I figured, go for it! And here I am in all my glory! Hahaha

So, today is a somewhat special day. It is my last Friday in North Carolina. Hubby is at work and won't be home until late. I want to have fun, and I want to be with my hubby. But I can't have one of these things, so lets have some Random Friday Fun!

I just want to say that Dara Torres, the 41-year-old mother swimming in the Olympics, has an amazing body for being 41. I know that she gets this by spending lots of $$ on personal trainers and what not, but dang! That's what I want to have when I'm 40! (sweet dreams) Well, I can try can't I? **Note: I am a workout freak! Yeah, speaking of swimmers...ya know Michael Phelps? I heard on the news that the guy eats over 12,000 calories a day!! And he says that he has a "hard time" keeping weight on! Dang, his workouts must be totally intense! Phew!

Did You Know? Apple peels can have up to 87% more cancer fighting elements than the inside!

Science Bit: What's a Calorie? Scientifically, it's the amount of energy needed to raise the temp of 1 g. of water by 1 degree C. Nutritionally, it's the amount of energy in food that your body can use. Our digestion releases nutrients in the foods we eat, which our bodies then convert to glucose that it uses to fuel all of its functions. Yummy my tummy!

Recipes!! Finally...sorry...I have a lot of random useless knowledge in my head that sometimes just NEEDS to get out! I also do a lot of "spur of the moment" ramblings...I'm watching the Olympics right now...See! just like that! Well, anywho, yesterday I made some Kickin' Chicken and Pretzels so here are some photos and the recipes!

~Kickin' Chicken~
8 chicken drumsticks12 tbsp. Franks Sauce
4 tsp. Cholula (or Tabasco)
4 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. smokey paprika

Mix all ingredients together and pour over chicken. Let marinade for several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350-375 F. Pour chicken and sauce into large baking dish. Bake the chicken on the middle rack of the oven for about 35-40 min. or until it is no longer pink in the inside and there is no running blood. Turn on broiler and move rack up. Broil the chicken for 5 min., flip then broil for another 5 min. Let cool a little and serve with sauce in the pan. Serve with ranch or blue cheese for dipping

**These were pretty kickin', but not all that much, at least for my taste. I wish there had been more of a garlic flavor. I think I'll add more garlic next time and maybe some red pepper flakes or something to make it really kickin'! Mine were not very crispy either because the broiler in my oven does not work.

~Garlic, Herb & Cheese Pretzels~
2 1/2 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 pkg. instant yeast
1 c. warm water
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
Garlic salt
Mozzarella cheese

Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve and let sit until frothy, about 5 min. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour yeast mixture into flour and stir together to form a ball. If dough is too wet, add more flour until it comes together. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8-10 min. until smooth. Sprinkle with flour and place into a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 min. to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Dissolve sugar in warm water and set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal parts. Roll each part into a 12-24 in. rope. (smaller = more doughy, longer = more crisp) Place pretzel in hand and spoon sugar water over top and place on baking sheet and reshape. Sprinkle with cheese or garlic salt, or both. Repeat with remaining dough. Let pretzels rest for 15 min. Bake for 6 min., rotate pans, and continue baking for 6 min. more or until cheese is golden brown and dough is firm. Enjoy!

**These pretzels where very good for my first try! The herb flavor was spot on and my favorite topping was the garlic salt. Then again, I am a garlic fanatic! I was thinking that I was going to need some dip for these pretzels, and was planning on making some garlic mustard, but they were amazing just by themselves! I really enjoy bread just plain, no butter, rarely any dip, this lets you fully appreciate the flavor of the bread. These are amazing just on their own and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did!

Well, today I think I am going to try my hand at some cinnamon rolls. I don't know what exact recipe I am going to use, I might morph a few together. Pray that it turns out well! I'll post the results later!

Well, Peace out for now!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Welcome to Saffron & Semper Fi!

Hi all!
Wow...I finally started a Well, here is a little about me in a nut shell:

I am married
I am still in school
I love to eat
I love to cook and bake
My husband is in the USMC
I currently am living back and fourth between North Carolina and Minnesota
I am not a writer
I am VERY new to this blogging world

Alrighty...on to FOOD!! So...I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking lately. I am trying to use up all of the baking ingredients in the kitchen before I leave my hubby once again for the start of my final (at least for a while) year of school! wootwoot! He stays in NC and I go home to MN for school. This will be our second year of being apart! It's really not all that hard...AH! Food! OK, sorry, got off track for a little bit there! So, today I made some Kickin' Chicken from some recipe that I had (I have accumulated millions of them that I want to try when I finally have a "home" of my own!) on my computer....I have no clue where I got it, but I did change a few things and what not...I will post the recipe and pictures later, when I have more time!...It was okay...could have been more "kickin'". But, because of this recipe I found out that I have been baking in an oven that is only half working! Yeah!! Get, i have been wondering why the bottom of all of the items I bake have been turning out burnt on the bottom, but not quite "golden brown" on the top, well I noticed that the top heating coil in the oven DOES NOT WORK!!! Jeez! This rental STINKS!!! (that is a whopper of a story!) Well, anywho...this oven in old...Its a Kenmore...old...but hey! It works! (my glass is ALWAYS half full!) That's what I found out, but I kicked out some "Kickin Chicken" and I also made some Garlic Herb & Cheese Pretzels that turned out awesome in my opinion! :-) So I will leave all of my wonderful new readers with some pictures and some words of wisdom...

"Try every thing at least ONCE, cuz we only live ONCE."

"I heart Minnesota! What's luti...luta....lutafisk?"