Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Day Blogging Challenge Wrap Up

I did it!

I blogged every day for 30 days!

I shared some of my favorite recipes and got inspired to make plenty of new ones.

I came up with a great idea for a craft for the Hooks and Needles sale table.

I got to rant about the days that didn't go as I wanted. I learned that some days you don't have new content. Some days, life is just doesn't give you anything blog-worthy.

I'm extremely glad I committed to Anxiety and Coffee for a full month. I learned a lot about photography, a subject that I didn't know I enjoyed. I'm looking forward to getting a better camera and posting better pictures on my new posting schedule.

I am going to try and post once a week from now on. A recipe or craft each time.

But for now, Code Boyfriend and I are moving onto a new 30 day challenge.

This time, in honor of the holiday's, it is an exercise challenge.

Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. Hopefully it will help Code Boyfriend and I from accumulating too much holiday weight.

We did cheat a tiny bit so we didn't have to work out on Christmas. We started our December 30 day challenge before November ended.

We're on day 5 or 6 now.. not sure. But this work out is kicking our butts into shape. I'll keep you posted with how it goes.

Right now, we've only done the first workout of the three in the shred, but it is really well designed.

It works your entire body, but tries very hard to avoid injuries.

Wish me luck!

Quick Buffalo Chicken Wraps

This is one of my favorite dinners to make when I am out of time.

I also love to take this for lunch. I bake the buffalo chicken strips in the morning before I leave, then wrap them in aluminum foil. I take a small container of ranch and a tortilla.

I put them all together at lunchtime.

It's so wonderful and filling!

Buffalo Chicken Wrap
  • 5 Buffalo Chicken Nuggets, I use Wegmans, but I'm sure any buffalo strips will work.
  • 2 Tablespoons of Ranch Dressing
  • 2 Leaves of Romaine
  • 1 Multi-grain Tortilla
Oven bake the buffalo chicken strips extra crispy.

Wrap with all the fixin's in a large muti-grain tortilla.

I hope this helps you on a busy night!

Code Boyfriend is in the air to Seattle

Code Boyfriend is still in the air to Seattle. I've lost my motivation to type.

Tomorrow is the last day of the 30 day challenge, so I will be doing 2 posts. One last recipe for this challenge, and info on our new challenge.

I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bad Day

Wow... I bet you guys are getting sick of my ranting posts. Sorry about that...

But we went out for dinner tonight. Because my day sucked.

Classes went well, but I found out a member of my E-board was not returning for this quarter.

It's the best thing for her, but it puts a little more on my plate than I'm comfortable with.

Then I lost my wallet.

It just fell out of my jacket pocket when I was walking to lunch. I spent 20 minutes retracing my steps from where I knew I had it to where I realized I didn't have it.

No good. I called my bank and spent 10 minutes of my lunch break on the phone with them, cancelling that card and getting them to send me a new one.

Turns out a lovely professor in the College of Science had picked it up and was in his office for me to retrieve my wallet.

Which is wonderful. I realize that I am extremely blessed that someone returned it to me with all of the contents still inside, but the amount of stress it caused me was not instantaneously taken away.

I still have limited access to my funds until I recieve the new card from my bank... not the best situation to be in when I have to order books.

Luckily, I have amazing parents who will let me order books with their credit cards until my mess gets straightened out.

I get through my last lab of the day and come straight home. Worked out. Code Boyfriend and I have started a new 30 day challenge a couple days early in order to avoid having one over Christmas.

But more on that later.

I then got into a fight with a very good friend, and was told I was bad at running my club.

And no matter how bad today was, I will get out of bed and do it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

First Day as a TA

I TA'd my first lab today.

A teaching assistant for Tissue Culture. Not where most Bio related TA's start, but the only subject I've ever liked enough to want to spend more time with.

With a full 4 hour lab behind me, I wanted to share what I learned.

1. They'd rather ask you than the professor.

I was really concerned I was going to seem like I didn't know what I was doing, or no one was going to want to talk to me. Neither happened.

It's hard to ask a professor a little question, that's what you're there for. Be sure to answer the silly little questions when you can.

2. You aren't the professor.

In my case, a new professor was placed in charge of the lecture since I had taken the class the previous year. Along with the regime change came new lab notebook requirements, lab reports, and even some new experiments I've never done.

It's not my job to know exactly how to do each experiment, that's the professor's. It's less important to know all the details. Just listen to what the professor says and try to answer the questions they have about that. And they will have plenty of questions about exactly what the professor said.

3. You remember more than you think you do.

I took Tissue Culture a full year ago, and with the exception of a couple times at work over the summer, haven't touched the subject since. I was shocked at how much came rushing back to me as soon as I stepped into that lab.

I remembered where everything was, how to use the inverted microscope, as well as the little tricks I had picked up in my class.

4. They are that much younger than you.

Most students at my school take Tissue Culture as a sophomore. As a senior, I was afraid I wouldn't have the authority to lead anything, much less a lab setting. As it turns out, those two years make a difference. I stand out, even if it is just because I'm calmer than they are.

I hope these insights into my first day help someone else's TAing experience.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oven Baked Tacos

No recipe today guys. I'm sorry, I took no pictures of dinner. It didn't look very pretty. Tasted good though.

I do have a story that ends in a tip.

When trying to make tacos, I discovered that we didn't have quite as much ground beef in the freezer as I thought we did.

I had to eat before the Hooks and Needles meeting, so I pressed on.

I bulked out the ground taco meat with an equal amount of cooked rice. This worked so well! It added a lot to the final texture of the tacos, and really extended the ground beef.

Just be sure to season the whole mixture, not just the meat, or you will end up with some pretty bland tacos.

My next tip is to always bake your tacos. No matter when kind of tacos you are having, combine the meat and cheese in the shell, I used both corn and flour tortillas, and put a full pan of them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Not only does this let everyone sit down to eat at the same time instead of fighting over the taco filling, it completely melts the cheese and adds a nice crunch to the outside of the tortillas.

Give it a try the next time you make tacos... or run out of ground beef.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pesto Panini Bread

When I go back to Colorado, one of the foods I look forward to is a Turkey Pesto Ciabatta sandwich from Mimi's Cafe.

This time, I ordered pancakes when we went to Mimi's. Still good, but not the sandwich I was craving.

I also feel like having school start the Monday after Thanksgiving limits the amount of leftovers I can consume.

So, turkey was on sale at Wegmans, and I picked up a nice little turkey breast.

I wanted to recreate the Turkey Pesto Ciabatta, but did you know ciabatta has to rise overnight?

I didn't. Not enough foresight for that to happen.

So I switched to a panini idea. I wanted to make the bread.

I couldn't find a recipe for bread to use in panini making. I was disappointed.

The Pioneer Woman has never failed me, so I altered the recipe for Blooming Bread from her Pastor.

This bread ends up crispy and delicious, perfect for making into a panini.

Pesto Panini Bread
  • 4 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Stick of Butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon of Pesto
  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Lukewarm Water
Combine the warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, activating the yeast.

Add the rest of the indgredients and knead for 10 minutes. My mixer, Vera, didn't have any problems with this, but if yours starts to heat up, give it a rest for a few minutes or finish by hand.
Move the dough to a large cast iron skillet and allow to rise for 1 hour. I placed mine on top of the oven I was using to roast a turkey.

Once the dough has doubled in size, it can be moved into a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, covered in aluminum foil, or with any oven-safe lid. We want to control the browning.

Remove the cover an allow to bake for another 15 minutes.
Cut the loaf into sixths and enjoy filling this with whatever strikes your fancy.

I filled this loaf with tomato, pesto, mayo, turkey and mozzarella cheese. They were amazing!

I pressed them in our little George Foreman grill. No panini maker necessary! 2 cast iron pans work just as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Simple Chicken Stir Fry

I don't know about you all, but I am still feeling full from Thanksgiving.

Code Boyfriend and I have been trying to eat a little lighter since returning home from our vacation.

So tonight, I made a very simple chicken stir fry with brown rice.

Nothing spectacular today. We didn't eat breakfast and grabbed a quick lunch at Wegmans before we did our shopping.

It is full of veggies and easy to switch up with whatever veggies you may have on hand.
Chicken Stir Fry

  • 1 Chicken Breast, cut into strips
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Vegetable, I used Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots
  • 3 Tablespoons of Teriyaki Sauce -- The Wegman's Teriyaki sauce is very good
  • Olive Oil for the pan
  • 2 Tablespoons of Corn Starch
Coat the strips of chicken with the corn starch and place in a hot pan with enough olive oil in the bottom to prevent sticking. I used a non-stick pan, so I only needed a tablespoon or so.

Allow the chicken strips to brown on one side, almost cooking all the way through undisturbed. This took my chicken about 5 minutes. I used this time to make instant brown rice.

 After the chicken is mostly cooked, add the garlic, frozen veggies, and teriyaki sauce.

Allow the frozen vegetables to cook, about 7 minutes.

Serve over rice, noodles, or whatever strikes your fancy. I do like to serve with rooster sauce. I like the kick.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ketchup Cup Magic

I'm back in Rochester.

Both flights were really bumpy, bothering both my anxiety and my motion sickness. Blech. Not fun at all.

I do have a weird home remedy for motion sickness that works for me almost every time. 

French fries.

Non-traditional, I know. But I've chewed ginger candy, drank ginger ale, worn pressure point bracelets, and taken over the counter drugs and nothing has done as much for my motion sickness as plain old french fries.

Every time I get a little queasy in the air or in a car, Code Boyfriend runs off to find the closest place that sells french fries.

I don't know if it's a comfort thing, or the starch. I really don't care. At that point, I've gone a horrible shade of green and all I really care about is trying to feel better as soon as possible.

Now, the title of this post promises magic and for me, this may be as close as it gets.

I'm a ketchup girl. I really think french fries are very sad without their friend ketchup. I had run out at a fast food place a couple weeks ago, and Code Boyfriend got up to go get me yet another obviously too small cardboard container full of ketchup.

But when he came back, he had done something amazing.

Apparently this is one of those life hacks I never learned. The little ketchup cups are made to expand. You can pop apart the cardboard creases to make more room for ketchup. This makes way more sense for actually dipping french fries in as well.

I hope I made your ketchup consumption a little easier.

I also hope that I wasn't the only one who didn't know this.

Blueberry Pull Apart Bread

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I feel like the meals around Thanksgiving dinner always get ignored. No one has ham on Thanksgiving eve like Christmas eve. Nor are there Pinterest boards filled with ideas for Thanksgiving breakfasts.

So here is an idea.
It worked out great today. It finished just as my mom finished prepping the turkey to go in the oven.

I also made the dough the night before. I should have also filled and stacked the bread before I went to bed and let it do it's final rise in the fridge overnight.

If you do it that way, all it takes is 30 minutes to have a delicious warm breakfast.

I used the Pioneer Woman's Pull Apart Bread recipe for the dough, then made a blueberry filling.

The one thing I learned today is that blueberries roll... Go figure.

Anyways, I highly recommend mashing the blueberries into the sugar before spreading the filling on to your dough, or cheating by cutting all of the squares and putting the filling in between one by one.

Trust me, round sugar covered blueberries were flying everywhere this morning.

Blueberry Filling for Pull Apart Bread
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 and a 1/2 Cups of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Teaspoon Orange Juice, optional
 Mix all of these in a bowl and allow to meld for about 5 minutes before smearing on your dough that has been covered in butter.

For the rest of the bread, I followed the Pioneer Woman's instructions exactly.
Be warned, this made a lot of dough. I had to break out 2 mini loaf pans after I filled a large one.

I hope you enjoy the bread!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Granola Waffles

When I called home right before Code Boyfriend and I left for Colorado, I got one request. Make enough waffles to fill the freezer until I come back for Christmas.

My mom's favorite are my Granola Waffles. They turned out great. It would have stopped here, but my sister has a nut allergy. I'm sure you can make these waffles with nut-free granola, but I didn't have any. Nor did I feel like making any.

So, I also tried to make my sister Apple Cinnamon Waffles. Those worked out less well. Still edible, but every time I opened the waffle maker, the browned top of the waffle pulled away from the meat of the waffle... They taste good, but look less good.

I'm going to work on that recipe over Christmas break, I'll get back to you with Apple Cinnamon Waffles.

For right now, all I have to share is the Granola Waffle recipe.

Granola Waffles
  • 1 and 1/4 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup of Granola
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  •  1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Cups of Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons of Butter, melted
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
Combine flour, granola, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour about 1/4 a cup of batter into each of the squares of a waffle iron and cook as directed by the waffle iron.

I used the Cuisinart Griddler Waffle Iron plates and they took about 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

If you place them on a baking sheet on some paper towels in the freezer, and then place in a plastic baggie in your freezer, they will reheat just like frozen waffles. So much better though!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My new Celestial Seasonings Teas

Today was exhausting. I got a haircut and we picked up Settlers of Catan.. all fun things. But this lack of oxygen just tires me out.

As promised, here is a review of the 3 teas Code Boyfriend and I liked so much we brought home from the Celestial Seasonings factory tour.

Tropical Fruit Cool Brew Iced Tea

This is, clearly, from their cool brew line.


While I am not a huge fan of any of the other teas in this line, I fell in love with this tea. It tasted like exactly what I wanted to drink on a hot summer's day. It was vaguely reminiscent of fruit punch, without the sickly sweetness. It was fruity and sweet, while packing a big punch of flavor, which is sometimes lacking from their fruit teas.

I couldn't leave without this tea and brought home a big box of it. I recommend it for anyone fond of zingers, or who are like Code Boyfriend and find many teas to taste like nothing at all. 

Cranberry Apple Zinger

This tea is amazing cold, which is how I tried it at the tasting. I am so excited to try it hot.

Look at that deep, red color. It tasted like cran-apple juice, which is always a good thing in my book. It was also very refreshing, like the entire zinger line.

I loved this tea, but Code Boyfriend was not a huge fan. The flavor just isn't strong enough for him.

Sleepytime Kids - Goodnight Grape

I'm not going to lie, as I poured this tea into my cup, I was expecting it to taste like cold medicine.

It was shockingly true to it's name. It tastes like Sleepytime with a hint of grape. Fruity, with all of the same Sleepytime calming powers. It is also very sweet. I drank mine without any sweetener and had to go back and make sure there was no sugar in it!

I think this would be a very easy sell for a sick child, or a sick Code Boyfriend who has a cold but doesn't want tea because it doesn't taste like anything.

Even though it is marketed as a kid's drink, Code Boyfriend and I both thought it was amazing enough to need to come home.

There you are! All of the new teas we tried at Celestial Seasonings. I hope this gave you the insight you needed to spring for a new box the next time you buy tea.

Celestial Tea Tasting Reviews

On our second full day in Colorado, I had a doctor's appointment in Boulder at 3:30.

Code Boyfriend and I decided to head over early and spend the afternoon.

We started out getting hot dogs at my favorite place to eat in Boulder.

Mustard's Last Stand. I've been eating here since I was five and always stop in for a corn dog when I'm in Boulder.

Code Boyfriend got a hot dog with cheese, he was also extremely satisfied with the food, but thought someone should have mentioned they put poppy seeds on their buns. Very old school Chicago.

The fries here are also excellent. Crispy and salty in ways that most restaurants fail to achieve. All in all a great addition to our day.

After, we walked to Pearl Street. It's just not our kind of place. A little too hippie.

We then went on the Celestial Seasonings factory tour. This is my favorite place to take people on vacation in Colorado. Code Boyfriend loves factory tours, even though he's not a huge fan of tea, so it seemed like a great place to go.

The actual factory tour is a great time. You get to see all the steps to make their teas, usually with a spunky 25 year old tour guide who spends his time trying to set up bad puns. There is no photography allowed in the factory, so you'll have to trust me on this and go yourself.

What I think is really special about the experience is the tea tasting room. They give out samples of any of their teas. I could sit in their cozy, little cafe and try teas forever, but since I had to leave eventually, I decided to review the ones I did try.

Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride  

This is one of Celestial Seasonings Holiday teas.

 Sugar Cookie Sleigh ride is a much lighter tea than I was expecting. Also, it's not as sweet as its name implies. While the tea tastes remarkably like a sugar cookie, the flavor was not strong enough for either mine or Code Boyfriend's preference. It reminded me of white tea, very subtle in flavor.

I would highly recommend this tea to a white tea drinker looking for a festive seasonal tea, but it was not one of the teas that came home with me.

India Spice Chai - Decaf
Sorry guys, my picture didn't turn out. Which is kind of ok, because I really disliked this tea. It has some very strong deep flavors, but the tea had no substance. No sweetness, nor anything that stuck around after you swallowed. I typically love the flavorful layers of a spiced chai, but I feel like this tea only hit one note.

Jammin' Lemon Ginger
I was not expecting to like this tea. I'm not a huge fan of lemon or ginger. But neither flavor was overpowering, and I was pleasantly surprised with how mellow this tea was. I imagine this would have been loved by anyone who enjoyed either lemon or ginger tea. Sadly, it was not for me.

Sweet Apple Chamomile
I love chamomile tea. I am also a huge apple fan. This tea, however, was only fine. So mellow as to be boring. Neither of the flavors were dominant, leaving a very bland tea. I was so excited to try this tea, only to be let down. It is very similar to their Cinnamon Apple Spice tea, which I am also not a huge fan of. 

I hope these comments will be helpful to you if you can't get to Boulder, CO to sample Celestial Seasonings teas. Tomorrow, I'll do a post on the three teas I liked so much that I brought some home.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plane Knitting: Hooded Cowl

I am a really terrible flyer. I get motion sick, anxious, hungry, and I always decide I have to pee right as the captain turns back on the fasten seat belt sign.

Because of all these things, I really hate the parts of the flight where I can listen to music, watch a movie, or whatever other electronic stimulation I try to use to distract me from the fact that I am hurling through the air at 500 mph in an aluminum tube.

Since I can't just sit there and contemplate my own mortality, I knit. Please don't ask me to fly without my knitting, I won't do it.

For this trip, I wanted to switch up my project from what I had been working on lately. A chunky scarf for my mom, a chunky baby blanket for High School Best Friend, and Fuzzums for the Hooks and Needles Sale.

Long story short, I've been itching to use some thinner yarn, on a project I actually get to use.

Enter my idea for a cowl. My ears get cold in the winter, but hats always make me overheat. I thought a nice, lace cowl is just the ticket.

I happened to have picked up some Cascade Pima Tencel when on vacation in Niagara Falls with Code Boyfriend. It seemed like a great fit.

Unfortunately, it was a pain to fine a lace cowl pattern I like for DK yarn.

After a lot of searching on Raverly, I found the Smoke Ring pattern. It has beautiful, leaf-like lace pattern, not too complicated for plane travel. I don't like to use patterns that I can't easily remember, because of the whole motion sickness thing...

I need a pattern that I can memorize and work for 5 minutes before consulting the chart again. This pattern is easy to memorize and works up quickly.

The circular needles it calls for are also TSA approved and a great size to have on planes. I feel like needles that are too big or too small are just too much fuss on planes.

I'm not done yet, but I'm very happy with this plane knit.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chicago O'Hare Airport Review

I am now safe and sound in Colorado for Thanksgiving.. and I am exhausted.

Code Boyfriend and I flew from Rochester to Chicago O'Hare, then to Denver. Very long day for someone who hates flying.

But we did land both flights ahead of schedule and made it to Chicago by lunchtime, which is a very fine place to be in the Chicago area.

Both Code Boyfriend and I got deep dish for lunch.

While not the best food I'd ever eaten, it was far better than the usual McDonald's and Burger King fair I eat at the airport. Fast too, while Code Boyfriend and I had a 2 hour break, you could grab this pizza to go in under 5 minutes. 

This place was incredibly good for airport food. We ate in Terminal C, but we walked through Terminal B and there were several places I would have wanted to try had they been closer to our gate.

There is a lot of walking at this airport. But there is a Starbucks every 12 feet, so it wasn't so bad. While the airport was busy, I never felt boxed in, very important for an anxious flyer.

All in all, I'd say Chicago O'Hare is a great place to fly through. I much a layover here than in Atlanta.

They also got extra points for having a Brachiosaurus in the middle of Terminal B. It was kind of awesome.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Grilled Hawaiian Sandwich

I'm done! Fall quarter is finally over for me, as of 11:00 this morning when I finished my last final.

I'm completely exhausted. I love the quarter system, it allows me time to focus on a lot more subjects in a year than I could have in the semester system, but am I ever tired after 10 weeks.

I also leave for Colorado tomorrow. Be ready for some awesome home posts for the next week.

But that also means flying... I hate flying. It's scary. Let's put humans in a metal tube and fling them across the country. That sounds sane.

Oh well. It's how people travel I guess. Code Boyfriend wants me to give train travel a try. What is it with boys and trains? Anyone? I don't get it.

Anyways, with this week being so busy with finals, I tried to plan simple dinners I would feel like throwing together after a day of studying.

So I give you...

Grilled Hawaiian Sandwiches
  • Any bread you'd like, I used slices from an Italian loaf
  • Maple Ham
  • Pineapple Slices
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Butter (for your grill pan)
This delicious grilled sandwich was created by buttering bread to toast on a grill pan, and adding some cheese.

Then heating the ham on the same griddle and grilling the pineapple slices. The grilling helped heat the ham all the way through and made the pineapple slices sweeter.

Then the hot ham and pineapple were placed on the bread, and the sandwich was grilled on both sides until the cheese was melted and both sides of the bread were completely toasted.

It was amazing. Code Boyfriend said, "These is a surprise in the middle of this ham melt and it's pineapple!"

The pineapple and cheddar combine with the slight sweetness of the maple ham to make a very tasty sandwich.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Apple Filled Challah Bread

This is the last one from the Hooks and Needles night, I promise.

Today was exhausting. But tomorrow I am done with this quarter. I just have one more test to get through and then I get to go home for Thanksgiving.

I'm just about to get out of bed and go finish my mother's sweater vest, just you watch....

Ok, maybe later.

Right now I want to give you this bread recipe. It was amazing. Soft and sweet, the apples worked perfectly.

I adapted this pin, because they didn't include a bread recipe. I also forgot to slit the top of the bread. Don't do this... the apples burst out in an escape attempt and get burned to the bottom of your oven.

While I didn't end up having any left over, I would love to try making french toast with this bread... Just a thought.

Apple Filled Challah Bread
  • 1 Cup of Lukewarm water
  • 1 and a 1/2 Teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 cup of Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg for Egg wash
  • 1 and a 1/2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 4 cups of Flour 
  • 3 Apples, diced
  • 1/4 Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Combine water, yeast, honey, oil, salt and 1 egg in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook attachment.

Mix just to combine.

Add flour one cup at a time. You can knead in the flour by hand, but I don't want to, and I don't expect you to want to either. It tires out my hands.

Once all 4 cups of flour are incorperated, knead for 8 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky, adding more flour if necessary. I live in the Northeast, where we like to keep the water in the air, so mine took almost 5 cups.

Once the dough is no longer sticky, allow to rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

 Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a large rectangle, about a 1/4 inch thick.

Combine apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Cover your dough rectangle with your apple mixture.

Roll dough around the apples as if you were making cinnamon cinnamon rolls.

Tuck both ends of your roll under the center of the seam, so all parts of your dough seam are inside your loaf.

Place into a greased loaf pan and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Now, slash the top of the loaf... seriously, it's not pretty if you forget.

Egg wash (1/2 egg, 1/2 water mixture) the top of your loaf.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when you knock on it. I know I sound crazy, but I always knock on my yeast dough.

Allow to sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Slice after fully cooled.

Look at those apple cinnamon swirls... I'm serious. This needs to be French Toast immediately. Sorry, I'd have a post about that tomorrow, but none of the bread survived the night. Better luck to you. Maybe for Christmas morning...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chocolate Custard Cupcake Pies

 I told you! I told you I'd get the post about the Chocolate Custard Cupcake Pies up today. And I will.

But I've got two finals tomorrow, one the day after, and a lab report due, so please bear with my briefness today.

The Hooks and Needles Eboard party was a great success. I think I may be able to do this whole leadership thing after all.

It is, however, exhausting...

So, less whining, more pies.

 Chocolate Custard Cupcake Pies
  • 2 Pillsbury Frozen Pie Crusts
  • 1 Batch of Chocolate Custard (I talked about that yesterday--right here.) 
Cut circles of defrosted pie dough slightly larger than your muffin tin.

Push these into a greased muffin tin. 
Now, here's where you should not be like me. Poke holes with a fork in the bottom of each of your mini pie crusts, and bake as the packages instructs for a fruit pie.

They bottoms of the crusts will not cook with the custard. I had to finish mine in a frying pan. Don't be like me, pre-bake.

After the crusts come out,  ladle your custard mixture in to each tiny little pie crust.

Place your muffin tin into a roasting pan full of water (or any other large, oven safe dish that your muffin tin will fit into. Be sure to check before you pour the custard to make sure you have something that will fit) and bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes, or until they jiggle without sloshing.

Bring to room temperature and then stick the entire muffin tin in the fridge.

Once cooled for about an hour, you should be able to take your tiny pies out by running a knife around the edge of the muffin tin and using a spoon to pull the pie out.
I think they came out great... they'd be in better shape if I pre-baked.
Oh well. Lesson learned. They were still very tasty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chocolate Custard and Pie Crust Cookies

Today, I made mini chocolate custard pies. But tomorrow's post will be about that.

Today, I'll give the custard in the pies its day in the sun.

I made Paula Deen's Baked Chocolate Custard. I should have strained it. It would have looked so much less grainy had I strained it. It is still delicious

 I also didn't use the hot cream to melt the chocolate. When heating the cream mixture, I added the chocolate chips to the saucepan. It think this does a better job at melting the chocolate chips than pouring the hot cream over them, but that's just me.

 I really do like the way these cookies came out. They are great for dipping in the custard, or pretty much anything else you can imagine.

I used Pillsbury pie crust, cut out circles and coated them with cinnamon sugar.

Then I placed them on a greased baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. About half my tray was golden brown and crispy. The other half was just turning golden.

They are both delicious, but I really need to rotate things in my oven.

Hopefully the Hooks and Needles e-board will enjoy the snack, and I will have more details on that (and the other food for tonight) tomorrow.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lasagna Minestrone

Finals week is off with a vengeance. But I think I did well on the brutal final I had in Developmental Biology and I have some time to recover before the next test.

My roommate, however, had a horrible day. 5 hours of finals, plus work. So I wanted to make a warm and comforting dinner.

Enter Lasagna Minestrone. Imagine the meat-y, cheese-y nature of lasagna, mixed with the broth and veggies from minestrone. It was a goldmine.

Lasagna Minestrone

  • Just under 1 pound of Ground Beef
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Cup of Carrots, Diced
  • 1/2 an Onion, Diced 
  • Any other assorted veggies you have that are about to go bad. (It's almost break week, so my fridge is pretty empty, but this would be great with the addition of lots more veggies)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Itailian Seasoning
  • 2 Cans of Chicken Broth, Low Sodium
  • 2 Cans of Diced Tomatos
  • 1 Cup of Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Basil
  • 3 Cups of Broken Lasagna Noodles
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup of Mozzarella Cheese
 In a large pot, brown ground beef alongside all of your veggies and garlic. 

Once the meat is browned, mix in the broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, and itailian seasoning.

Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add bite sized pieces of lasagna noodles. Make the pieces slightly smaller than bite sized, as they will swell up during cooking.

Simmer until the noodles are thouroughly cooked.

Add cheese. Mix until the cheese combines with the soup broth.

Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chicken Wing Dip Stuffed Shells

I have a final tomorrow. I'm kind of freaking out about it in a way that makes me not want to study. Instead, I want to pull the blankets over my head and pretend that finals are going to go away.

So, I made the week's most time consuming dish tonight... as a study break.

Chicken Wing Dip Stuffed Shells
  •  1 Box of Jumbo Pasta Shell, cooked al dente, even a little under. They'll finish in the oven.
  • 2 Shredded Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 cup of Frank's Hot Sauce (I cut back on this because Code Boyfriend does not like spicy food, it was still really good)
  • 1/2 cup of Ranch Dressing
  • 4 oz, half of a box of Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Cheddar Cheese (extra for the top)
 For the sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Frank's
  •  1/2 cup of Chicken Stock  
Mix shredded chicken, Frank's, ranch, and both kinds of cheeses in a bowl.

Spoon this mixture into the cooked shells and place into a glass baking dish. The shells can be on top of each other. 

Mix the tomato paste, Frank's and chicken stock in another bowl. Pour this over the shells.

Cover the shells with extra cheddar cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is all melty and the shells are cooked.

 These were amazing! But so filling. We have over half the pan left with 3 hungry college student eating. I should have cut the recipe in half, keep this in mind if you don't have an army to feed.   

Related: I want to use the jumbo shells to make giant mac and cheese. Maybe for winter quarter....     

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Caprese Stuffed Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Risotto

Code Boyfriend declared this the best thing he's ever eaten. I take that as extraordinarily high praise.

Our roommate is out of town for an interview, so we decided to have a slightly fancy dinner at home. Code Boyfriend picked up a bottle of wine, and I made this.

Everything was amazing. The chicken was tender, the risotto was amazing (granted, it's Pioneer Woman's recipe, so what do you expect) and the pan sauce was perfect.

Code Boyfriend even found a white wine we both enjoyed that paired well with everything.

Sorry guys, white wine will never be my favorite, but Sweet Walter White tastes like champagne they forgot to carbonate, and I can get behind that.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken
  • 2 chicken breast
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • 1/2 a cup of Basil
  • 3 Mozzerella String Cheese Sticks
  • Olive Oil
Butterfly the 2 chicken breasts, then lightly flatten with a cast iron pan. Or, if you're all fancy you could use a meat tenderizer, but I just don't have room in my kitchen for one when I can use a mini cast iron pan.

Peel string cheese into a bowl. Mix with the diced roma tomato and chiffonade of basil.

I used this mixture to stuff the chicken breast, placing the seam of the rolled chicken breast down in the pan. I only used half of the stuffing and used the remainder for the sauce.

Place in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour, until the chicken breast is cooked completely through.

About half way through the cooking process, I poured 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the chicken breasts to keep them moist.

Then I paired it with this sauce.

Caprese Pan Sauce
  • The leftover Caprese food
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon Corn Starch
After the chicken is cooked and taken out of the pan and placed on a cutting board to rest, place the pan on the stove over medium heat.

Add all of the ingredients to the chicken drippings, heat and stir until the sauce comes together. Serve over the chicken.

I served this dish with the Pioneer Woman's Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto, which is amazing as is. I didn't change a thing. I have tried her risotto both with and without white wine, and you can definitely taste the difference in the end product without the wine. The flavor just is not as deep.

I highly recommend looking around her blog when you are stuck for meal ideas. She's always very inspirational.