Friday, October 31, 2008

I've Been a Little Busy Again...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Well, it has....once again...been a while since I have posted. But I do have a legit excuse! I have a JOB!! and not one job, but TWO jobs!! My first one is a Photography Assistant, both film and digital (new printer whoot whoot!) and Gallery Installation Assistant. I love it and have been consequently very busy. :-( Sad for all of my readers (I know there are few). Sad for me....

BUT!!....I did some Halloween Baking! I made some cinnamon cut-out cookies and made Halloween ghosts, black cats, and pumpkins! It was so much fun! I love decorating cookies! I really liked this recipe and I doubled it and got about 5 dozen plus cookies! I also used a simple powderd sugar frosting that was wonderful. I spread some with a knife and piped others. I have a problem with making frostings that have a tendancy to seperate when they get really warm. But they sure do taste good! Not too sweet which is perfect.

~Cinnamon Cut-Out Cookies~
2 c. butter
1 1/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
5 c. AP flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. cinnamon
Pinch baking soda
Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixtre. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or parchment paper and tinfoil and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Divide dough into managable portions. Place one portion of dough between a layer of parchment paper and roll out to about 1/4 in. thickness. Cut out desired shapes, placing on a baking sheet. Reroll scraps. Bake cookies for 10-12 min., until slightly colored on the edges or cookies are firm.

~Powdered Sugar Frosting~
4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. shortening
5 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Food Gel Coloring
Using an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar and shortening. Mixtre will look crumbly. Add milk and vanilla and mix until smooth and stiff, about 5 min. Color with food gel and decorate cookies.
These cookies were wonderful and they went very fast! The cookie base is very flavorful and the cinnamon really comes through. Not very similar to a sugar cookie. Mine baked up due to the addition of the baking soda. They were crunchy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside with a very subtle sweetness. Yummy!!

Next up was some Good Luck googies to the Blazer hockey team! I made a boxed brownie mix and added a splash of vanilla and a good heaping of cinnamon to the mix and sprinkled powdered sugar on the outside when they were cool.

I also make a boxed mix for cupcakes and added in some M&Ms. They managed to sink to the bottom of the cupcakes, but they still tased amazing! Very moist. Next time I think I will try chocolate chips and coat them in flour before baking! I used a cream cheese frosting and tinted some red and piped on the letters. They were a hit with the team at the pre-game night spaghetti dinner! Along with the brownies!!

Interior shot of the cupcakes

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Super Foods for Each Stage of Aging!

20's: The beat-Stress Decade
  • The Problem: No Time to Eat Right
  • The Fix: Micowave-friendly meals that have the perfect balance of protein, carbs, and veggies in one package. *Look for these 3 qualifications: <450>
  • The Problem: Sports Injuries
  • The Fix: Beef. Perfect muscle food due to high levels of protein and creatine.
  • The Problem: The Bone-building clock is Ticking
  • The Fix: Drinking two 8 oz. glasses of Vit-D fortified low-fat milk every day. 581 mg. of calcium and 5 micrograms of Vit-D which is the perfect nutriet combo to develop break-resistant bones. Broccoli is also good becuase it contains 43 mg. of calcium along with magnesium, Vit-K, and phosphorus.
  • The Problem: Undetacted Depression
  • The Fix: Flaxseed. Eating a tbsp. of provides a great source of alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acid that improves the operation of the cerebra cortex, which processes sensory info and pleasure signals.

30's: The Melt-Fat Decade

  • The Problem: Corroding Joints
  • The Fix: Cold-water fish. Eat three 6 oz. servings per week. Top picks are salmon, mackerel, trout, halibut, and white tuna - each serving provides >1,000 mg. of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. Eating these healty fish oils reduces the cartilafe-eating enzymes and slows down cartilage degeneration.
  • The Problem: Cracks in the Facade
  • The Fix: Beans. Rich in antioxidants that help the body deal with free radicals, skin-damaging molecules caused by sun exposure and pollution. Good sources include hummus, beans added to rice and pasta dishes, and canned beans as side dishes. Mix them up with asparagus, broccoli, celery, eggplant, onion, and spinach, all of which contain the same antioidants.
  • The Problem: Yaaaaawn!
  • The Fix: Nuts! Peanuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts are packed with Vit-E, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system. They also contain many B vitamins which prep your body for physical ramifications of stess like high blood pressure and off-kilter hormones. Another plus for nuts, arginine, this amino acid improves blood flow-to help you get from dead tired to orgasmic. Just a handful per day and your on your way!
  • The Problem: A Pokey Metabolism
  • The Fix: Low-sugar, high-protein snacks. They keep your metabolic furnace stoked and leave you less likley to binge. Cheese, a 1.5 oz. serving, has up to 11 g. of protein and almost no sugar.

40's and on: The Fight-Disease Decades

  • The Problem: Shrinking Muscles
  • The Fix: Tuna. Oz. for oz. it is one of the best sources of protein.
  • The Prolem: Brain Freeze
  • The Fix: Smoothies! Berries and cherreis are rich in anthocyanins which have been linked to better memory. Try this: 1/2 c. skim milk, 1 c. blueberries, 1 c. cherry juice, 1 handful crushed ice. Blend togther until smooth.
  • The Problem: Cancer-Prone Skin
  • The Fix: Carotenoids = pigments that occur naturally in plants, reduce the risk of skin cancer. Beta-carotene is an internal sun protector. Eat 2 sweet potatoes every week, as they will give you plenty of beta-carotene. Other sources include carrots and cantaloupe. The Problem: Weakening Vision
  • The Fix: Kale, collard greens, spinach, and turnip greens all contain lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect your eyes from the UV rays that can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration. Try to get about 6 mg. of each daily and 1 c. of chopped kale has 26.5 mg.
  • The Problem: Narrowing Arteries
  • The Fix: Grapes. The skin on red grapes has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of clogged arteries. Red wine has these benefits as well!

We're #1 Baby!

Thats right! You heard it!

In the October issue of Women's Health Magazine, the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign announced the most "heart-friendly" U.S. metro areas for women. The top 10 are:
  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
  2. Washington, DC
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Denver, CO
  5. Boston, MA
  6. Seattle-Tacoma, WA
  7. Portlan, OR
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. Los Angles, CA
  10. Phoenx, MN

AND...There was this little one page spread on 11 Things Men Love About Women. Here are the 11 items in no particular order

  • Your sweaty post-gym rawness~"...It's at 6 o'clock on a weekday, when you're just back from the gym in an old grey tank top and a sports bra, devoid of makeup and perfume-when you are nothing but raw, glistening, briny womenness."...We may think "Ewww, I'm so gross!" but,thats when men love us.
  • When you cross-dress~Apparantly wearing our guys clothes turn him on...something them being "...thrilled that we're theirs."
  • Your awkward high school photos~"No matter how frizzy the hair, no matter how gangly the limbs or how beglittered with braces the smile..."
  • Your taste in movies~"Just kidding. Sorry-it sucks."
  • Your way with kids~"...when guys see our warmth and east around kids, we notice your unspoken uplife in their presence, it's hard not to smile and thing "Maybe"..."(in referance to getting married and having kids)
  • Your spaghetti and meatballs~"When us women dig out our mama's spaghetti recipe and uncork some $8 Chianti and eat together on the patio or the couch, idly riffing about our day. There's infinite bliss in simple moments."
  • Your beauty stash~Men, at first, might "...scoff mightily at all your high-tech moisturizers, mirodermabrasion cleansers and inscrutable cream, in public. But alone in the bathroom...they make full sneaky use of our mysical chemisty set."
  • Your patientce with our family~When we put up with a mans crazy family and "...still want to have sex with them. It boggles the mind."
  • When you clean your plate~"The only think sexier than a beautiful woman tearing into a medium-rare ribeye is her saying halfway through, 'I can't stop eating this-it's way too good.' A passion for great food suggests a freewheeling and insatiable appetite for all of life's sensual pleasures."
  • Your badass self-reliance~"When women show that they don't need men, it's much more gratifying that we want them."
  • That look~"You know the one. That look that clues us in as to where the night's headed. It's subtle and sly enough to be offered across a crowded dinner table but lascivious and powerful enough to buckle men's knees. Don't underestimate it."

Who would have thunk?


Busy Like a BEE...

I am truly an utterly amaized at my productivness today! I have gotten so much done, and then some! Wow, why can't I do this every day...?

Well, here are some samples of what I have been doing...

These are the same pics from the earlier entry today, but so much better! I was tooling with Photoshop and this is what I created! Enjoy them, and if you have any critiques, tips, or suggestions...please, let me know!

Hope you enjoyed the visual feast! Be back later!

Ciabbata, Sourdough, and Croissants...oh My!

I got a gift! There is this local baker in St. Joseph, MN who makes amazing bread and I may be working in collaboration with him to start marketing "Bread Stenciling". How fun does that sound! Very, in my opinion. SO, to make a long story short, I went to his bakery and he gave me a tour and sent me on my what with 6 loaves of bread and some croissants to sample and experiment with. It MADE my DAY!! Free, amazing bread!
This is what I got:

Spinach & Feta Croissant
Almond Croissant

Jalapeno & Cheddar

Wild Rice & Cracked Pepper Loaf
Sourdough Loaf



Cracked Wheat

Lavash Cracker Bread

Side view of the lavash. It was very, very light and sounds like a drum. I can't wait to "crack" into it!
Once I start tasting everything, I'll keep you posted on the amazing yummyness to occur!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls, Pizza, and Planes! What more...

Hello, Hello!!

Once has been a while since I have last posted...please do not hate me! I am really going to start making this a regular thing...I just have to find the time...and the content. But...on a better note...I did some BAKING!!!

I was in North Carolina over the weekend with the Hubbs and we (I) had some wonderful culinary adventures! The first was Homemade Pizza Crust with jarred sauce :-(...sad I know, but if we had had the ingredients on hand we would have used them! We made two medium sized pepperoni pizzas. The crust was very thick and some what doughy...but not underdone! Its just really "thick" for a pizza crust. Next time we will make 2 LARGE pizzas or 3 MEDIUM ones so that the crust is thinner. But on the whole...a Delicious experience!

~Homemade Pizza Dough~
2 c. warm water
1 pkg. yeast or 1 tbsp.
1 tbsp. sugar
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. basil
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
5-5 1/2 c. four (more if needed)
Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and allow yeast to ferment (bubble). Mix the olive oil, basil, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a large bowl. Pour in yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add in flour 1 c. at a time and stir to combine. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until well combined. Place in oiled bowl and cover with a towel or oiled saran wrap. Let sit in warm location until doubled in size. (About 1 hour or more.) Once risen, turn out onto floured surface and knead a little more then roll out to desired size. This recipe makes 2 large pizza crusts or 3 medium pizza crusts.

3-4 c. pizza sauce
toppings of choice
cheese of choice
Italian seasoning
After dough is rolled out to desired size, spread sauce over top. Amount used depends on how much sauce you like on your pizza. Spread with toppings of choice then top with cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30-45 min. Remove and let cool for 5 min. then slice and enjoy!

Look at that wonderful crust! Perfect, I like it slightly doughy...yummy!

Wow, so the next morning I decided to make some Cinnamon Rolls. These did not turn out quite as good. They tasted spot-on, but they were really quite stiff and crunchy due to the dough not rising properly. I did not want to waste in, so I made them any way! Hey, I can always get better and whats not good when it is liberally covered in cream cheese frosting? Hahaha!

~Cinnamon Rolls~

(adapted from the Skinny Gourmet)


1/4 c. warm water
1 tsp. white sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1/2-1 c. skim milk
2 1/2 - 5 c. flour (more if needed)


4 - 6 tbsp butter, divided
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 -1 c. raisins (optional)

Pour the warm water into a small bowl. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in the yeast and set aside until yeast has fermented or "puffed".
In a large bowl, mix the milk, sugar, melted butter, eggs, and salt. Sir to combine. Once yeast has proofed, add it to the mixture and stir to combine. Add half of the flour and stir. Slowly add in 1 c. of flour at a time and stir after each addition. The dough should come together but not be tough. Dump out the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary. Place in a buttered bowl and cover and let to rise in a warm location, free from drafts, until it has doubled in bulk. This could take anywhere from 30 to 90 min.
Once the dough has doubled in size, dump out unto a floured surface and knead slightly. Divide dough and roll out into a rectangle. Spread surface of dough with butter then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Roll dough starting with the long side and cut into 4-6 even pieces. Place into a buttered baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 min. or until rolls are golden brown.

~Cream Cheese Icing~
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2-3 tbsp. butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. milk
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Taste and add more sugar and milk to desired taste and consistency. Spread over warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

Rolling the cinnamon rolls

And I have to put in a plug for my favorite new drink! So, I am NOT a pop drinker. I gave it up in high school for lent and still have not drank it. (unless I did not know about it) BUT...there is one "exception"...Vernors Ginger Soda. It is AMAZING!! Much more potent than ginger ale...wonderful ginger flavor and carbonation.

And I would like to leave you with some more plane pictures! This one one top is during take off with a sunrise...i just love it! The one below is about an hour before landing...the texture of the clouds was just to amazing to pass up! Hope you like them as much as I do!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Expect great things soon...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chicago Trip 08 and Recipe

Can ya believe it! This is where I just got back from! 10 art students in one big van head to CHICAGO for at 3 day invasion! We went to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Navy Pier, River North Galleries, and Millennium Park.

The hostel that we stayed at was just a few exits north of Wrigley Field on the L. Of course I had to visit! We went to a bar that had batting cages above it and hit a few balls. That just about made the trip! (to Wrigleyville at least) I also did some beer tasting at Goose Island. Yummy.
Home of the Cubs!! I love baseball!
One night for dinner we went to Cosi. I had a Wasabi Roast Beef sandwich. There was ginger and a soy sesame sauce on it as well. Not to bad, the bread was good, but not on this type of sandwich.
One of the water towers at Millennium Park
The Bean!!
Pizza from Gino's East. We sampled both the Veggie and Sausage pizzas.
Last, but not least, I would like to share two recipes. The first is Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I had two reasons for making these cookies:
  1. My dog died on Wednesday the 1st. My dad was having a hard time with it, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are is favorite, so I baked him some!
  2. I made them for the car ride out to Chicago, and they were gone in a flash!
The batter for these cookies is absolutely delish! So that could only mean good things for the cookies...correct! They were wonderful! Full of raisins, cinnamon, oats, yummy goodness! And the recipe is very simple.
~Oatmeal Raisin Cookies~
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon*
3 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. raisins
1 c. chocolate chips**
Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in rolled oats, raisins, and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tsp. about 2 in. apart onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 9 to 12 min. or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 2 min and remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 doz.
*I added more cinnamon **I did not add chocolate chips this time