Saturday, November 28, 2009

Random Food Pictures

I was sifting through my picture folders last night, and thought I'd post some of my favorites that never got a post of their own.

I took this picture this summer. I believe there is yogurt and cereal somewhere in there.

This is a vegetable pizza of sorts. Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, cheese and topped with salsa. I think I ate this for lunch everyday for a week.

Eggs- pretty self explanatory.

Kettle corn! Popcorn is a big deal in my household. We have a stir-crazy popcorn maker and have perfected the art of popping up a bowlful of the fluffy crunchy stuff. My dad likes salty buttery popcorn. Mostly, my dad likes butter. On the other hand, my mom and I really like kettle corn. Basically, the popcorn is coated in sugar while popping. The result is a slightly salty sweet kernel.

Greek yogurt topped with kiwi, ground flax seed and honey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adventures in Cinnamon-Roll-Land

Last week my roommates and I embarked on another late night baking fest. Our victim of choice was the cinnamon roll.

Around 8 o'clock we began our journey by scalding a milk & sugar mixture. At 9 o'clock, when the milk/sugar mixture cooled to lukewarm, we added flour and yeast. When 10 o'clock rolled around we added more flour, salt, and baking soda (I'm still trying to figure out why there is a chemical leavening agent in a yeast raised dough- so far I'm still confused). From there we rolled the dough into a rectangle and added pools of butter, copious amounts of sugar and a heavy dose of cinnamon. Per usual, we had difficulties sheeting the dough out - the first batch was too thick and the second too thin. Maybe next time it will be just perfect. We rolled the our imperfectly thick dough into a log, sliced it up and placed it in pans. It was about this time we started to realize we were going to need a lot more pans than we had originally planned. Unbeknownst to us, the recipe yielded 8 pans of cinnamon rolls - not simply one. Fortunately, the problem was easily solved by rummaging around in our cabinets for more roll baking vehicles. After allowing the mini rounds of happiness proof (rise) for about 30 minutes we popped them into the oven. Twenty minutes later the oven proudly presented us a hot bready cinnamon laden sweet pan of goodness. We moved quickly to top them with sugary icing.

Too thin.

Too thick. In the process of rolling this batch, we emptied about 1/3 of the butter-sugar-cinnamon filling onto the counter. Not wanting to leave any juiciness behind, we spooned the nectar off the counter and onto the rolls.

Our next step in the adventure was to grab three forks, sit on the couch and devour some warm gooey cinnamon rolls. One of the best decisions we made all evening.

However, the real fun began after we had baked and iced all 8 pans. Understanding the profound significance of removing the remaining 7 pans from our apartment -lest we end up eating them all- we drove off at 11:30 PM to deliver the sweet dough mounds to men. First door, none of the roommates we knew were home and we woke up the only guy inside. Sorry. Second house, again the only boys we knew weren't there, and the guy who answered the door looked severely confused. Third house first try- wrong house where we met a really nice girl. Second try- wrong house where we met a bunch of random guys and a dog. Third try- correct house! I believe the problem was the darkness and that all the houses looked the same.

Things I've Noticed About Roommate Baking Sessions:

  1. Reject products are easily and readily consumed
  2. We bake in large quantities by accident
  3. Baking begins after 8 PM
  4. Errors become exposed approximately half way through the process

Things to Improve for Next Roommate Baking Session:

  1. Read directions fully and notice recipe yield amount
  2. Begin baking before 8 PM
  3. Obtain sufficient amounts of necessary ingredients
  4. Notify recipients of baked goods and understand where they live

Here's the recipe we used:

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls

1 quart Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast
8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
3 cups (to 4 Cups) Melted Butter
2 cups Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
1 bag Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
½ cups Milk
¼ cups Melted Butter
⅛ teaspoons Salt

Preparation Instructions
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).
When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1 ½ to 2 cups melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees (see note below) until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

One of my missions in life is to put peanut butter in foods that are secretly hoping peanut butter will be added to them. PB sweet rolls, PB & carrot wraps, PB rice krispi treats, and PB banana bread. PB+ Banana+ Chocolate chips= success. This bread is thick, dense, hefty and rich. I already feel better about the world.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 medium ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/2 c. creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter, softened, divided use
  • 1/2 c. Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • 3/4 c. Semi-Sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp Turbinado sugar, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 9" loaf pan with butter. In medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  2. In large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana, PB, 2 TBS butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and milk until combined.
  3. Stir in flour mixture until well combined. Add chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan, bake for 50 minutes. Remove pan from oven, melt additional TBS butter evenly over the top and top with turbinado sugar. Continue to bake an additional 5-10 minutes.
  5. Cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan and transferring to a wire cooling rack.

While this bread is delicious and indulgent when eaten solo, I highly recommend slightly warming a slice in the microwave and topping it with a dollop of peanut butter. More PB never hurt anything.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Monday evening I was cordially invited to dine at FarmHouse fraternity. Actually, a friend of mine rather has been rather casually asking me to eat dinner with him at FarmHouse for the entire semester. My friend, Drew, and I actually went to high school together back in the day and I was estatic when he chose attend K-State. He is the only person, outside of my family, to attend K-State from my hometown in Iowa. And he's also majoring in Bakery Science. I'd like to think that I influenced him a little in his decisions... Unfortunately, because he was the only person at K-State from my hometown, he had to bear with my verbal moments of glee whenever we crossed paths on campus. I have, however, really made an effort to tone down my "Hey Everybody! I know that guy!!" proclamations. Poor kid.

Anyway, Drew joined FarmHouse when he arrived at K-State and I'm frequently hearing about his fraternal adventures. Sadly, the fraternity/sorority scene is completely lost on me. But from what I'm told, they have a lot of fun. So when Drew asked if I'd like to have dinner at FarmHouse, how could decline a chance for a greek experience?

Monday night I walked over to FarmHouse after my painful engineering class. The night was rainy and dark, so I slightly irked at Drew for not offering to pick me up. Nevertheless, I arrived safetly and slightly wet to the FarmHouse door where Drew welcomed me inside. In the foyer I could see about 30-40 guys assembled in the living room, talking and waiting for dinnertime.

Drew motioned for me to enter the living room with him, and as I walk in behind him, all the boys stood up. I totally had no idea what was happening and why were all these guys suddeningly standing up? I thought I was missing something and probably had a slightly panicked look plastered on my face. Even now, I'm cringing just thinking about how pathetic I must have looked in front of the entire group of men *sigh*. Evidently, the men of FarmHouse stand up whenever a woman enters the living room. Although I first felt foolish, it's nice to know that chivalry isn't dead everywhere. When we finally made it across the room, I was introduced to the FarmHouse "Mom" who lives in the house with them. The doors opened for dinner shortly thereafter and we were ready to eat.

To adhere to the prestablished chivalrous standards, Drew escorted me (arm in arm) into the main dining room. Because I was a guest we sat at the head table with the house Mom. The rest of the guys filed in behind us and took positions at the round tables standing in the room. When everybody was situated behind a chair, the singing began. The "song leader" began a prayer song and all the boys quickly joined in. The small room filled with men's vioces were they were good. So beautiful. Following the prayer song came an actual prayer.

Drew pulled out my chair for me to sit in, and all the guys waited until the "Mom" and I were seated before sitting themselves. I tell you what, I was just simply not prepared for all this chivalrous treatment. Plus it was slighltly awkward. The place settings were set with a salad fork, a dinner fork, a dessert fork, a spoon and a knife. The beverage of choice was tea- no substitutions. We passed around sugar, and many of the guys made sweet tea. Servers brought out dinner and served Mom and I first. On the menu was Rueben sandwiches, green beans, potatoes, and a salad. Conversation at dinner was simply "Leave It to Beaver" style. We talked about old TV shows including Full House, Home Improvement, Seasame Street, Power Rangers and Becker. Simple, clean conversation. After it appeared that most everyone was done with the main dinner, the song leader announced another song- "Lean On Me" and the room broke out into a harmonious rendition of the old classic. This song was supposed to signal to the kitchen that the group was done with their main meal and the dishes could be cleared. While the dishes were being removed, the group sang another song. I asked Drew why they weren't a choir. I'd attend their concerts. Dessert was a fruit cobbler. Once dessert was finished, the guys sang one last song- the FarmHouse theme song or something like that. Drew then escorted me back out and gave me a tour of FarmHouse.

Incredibly, I found this video of the K-State FarmHouse on YouTube. It's a very good tour of FarmHouse. There is sound, but it doesn't come until you've reached the front door.

Honestly, I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to having dinner at FarmHouse. However, I loved the traditional mannor and how gentlemanly the guys treated women. I don't see much of either of those characteristics much in my daily life. The FarmHouse website says:

FarmHouse encourages social growth and awareness and practice of the conduct of a gentleman that will become so much a part of the man that he is no longer conscious of effort in achieving social amenities.

FarmHouse boys are great guys. I felt very priviledged to be eating dinner with them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall Food

I've been eagerly awaiting this dinner for the past several days. I'm making more of an effort to eat "real" meals this week. Too much cereal last week. Evidently, cereal does not replace vegetables nutritionally.

Fall is my hands-down my favorite season and this meal is the definition of autumn. Acorn squash, brown rice, dried cranberries, roasted almonds and goat cheese. I followed a recipe from Katheats. Extremely delicious. Goat cheese is so creamy...