Tasty Angel Wings

57

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008

There are certain things that absolutely have to be done each and every Christmas or holiday season. Do you know what I mean? They are not up for negotiation, and only see the light of day for a few weeks a year. For example...
  • Lighted Christmas Tree of some kind
  • Candles in the windows
  • Grunting and sighing over tangled colored lights bundles of terribleness
  • Embarrassing pieces of pottery you made when you were 5
And of course... Cookies. Yup. Once a year, we are bombarded by cookies that we only truely enjoy this time of year. I actually think that if we had them more often than this, they wouldn't be quite as special, don't you think? Well, and besides that... some of them are ALOT of work. I don't want to make them more than once a year :) But, for my family and my stomach, they are worth it.

Now, I'm going to give a disclaimer here. I don't like fried food much. Besides going against my nutritional habits and dogma, I just don't really dig the taste... sorry my bad. But... everyone totally digs these cookies.

Are they fried? Yup. Are they healthy and low fat? Not really. But, not to sound too hypocritical... these are the holidays. By all means, I will say please make good food choices to ward off any unwanted weight gain. But a good friend of mine said this to me awhile ago...

Instead of worrying about what you eat between Thanksgiving and Christmas, worry about what you eat between Christmas and Thanksgiving.

I think that sums up how I feel. As you know how I feel already, moderation and exercise are key :) So anyways... onto the Polish favorite... Chrusciki. Which loosely translates to Angel Wings... I don't have nimble girly/elven fingers, but I try. So maybe that kinda look like angel wings. I'll let you be the judge :)

Now, there are tons of recipes out there for these things. Some have butter, some have more eggs than others, some have weird flavorings.... and so on. All I have to offer though, is what my family does. I'm sure we could experiment, but... these haven't proven us wrong. So we're going to keep on rolling this way. If anyone has had these any other way, let me know. I'd be interested hearing your input.
Roll on out, slice and dice

Fold under and through - Sorry - it's not mutant... florescent light at night = bad

fry 'em up


Chrusiki (Angel Wings)
Bizan Family Recipe
-2 cups AP flour, and more for dusting and rolling

-2 whole eggs

-4 egg yolks

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 cup powdered sugar

-1 shot rum (clear or silver is best)


In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and salt until they become thick and have a dark lemon color. This can be done by a heavy hand, or a stand mixer works well also on medium to high speed. Add the powdered sugar slowly, then the shot of rum, and mix until combined.


Remove the mixer paddle (if using one) and fold in the flour in batches with a wooden spoon. Mix the flour into the batter completely. You will now have a yellow, sticky dough formed.


On a clean and lightly floured surface, remove the dough from the bowl, and begin to knead the dough. It will be sticky at first, so during the course of kneading and folding, you'll have to add more flour as you go along. I'd say maybe another 1/2 cup of flour is almost used until the tackiness kind of goes away, and it becomes soft.
The reason we don't add another 1/2 cup of flour right away is because super floury cookies don't work right.

Cut the dough in half, cover one half to protect it from drying out, and get to rolling out the other half. With a floured rolling pin, roll the tough until it is very thin, so much that you can begin to see through it... like translucent.


Flour the top of the dough a little, and with a sharp floured knife, cut the dough into strips, both vertically and horizontally, so that little squares are formed, about 1 x 2-3 inches. Then, make a little diagonal strip-like hole in the center each square, large enough so it stays when you leave the dough alone.

Now... here's the kind of tedious part. With a sharp spatula... scrape up each square gently, and with your floured nimble fingers... take one end of the dough, and fold it under and through the slit formed in the dough. Pull it through, so that half of the dough is pulled through, and the other half is not. It forms a type of twist that may resemble a wing.


Place these pieces on a floured corner of your workspace, and then... working in batches, fry the pieces of dough in very hot oil, close to 425* if you are using a thermometer. This is important to get a crispy and not soggy cookie. Low temp = soggy and bad.
Fry each side for about 15 seconds. You know you're in good shape when they initially puff up, and then turn golden as they sit in the oil. Drain on paper towels, and let them cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar, and watch them disappear. This recipe makes a ton... probably close to 100.


All powdered sugared and happy now

See? Kind of an angel wing!

And... with that I'm done. I'd be lying if I said these don't take a little bit of work. I like to work in at least a team of two, and three would be better. Once the dough is rolled and sliced, you can have one person scrape up the dough gently, while another does the fold under and twists the dough into shape, and another has fryer control. Funny how Polish pastries always have such delicate handiwork, right?

Do any of you guys have any cool 'must make' tough work cookies? Share away :) Happy early Holidays.

Um, I Think I Overslept...

35

Posted by Adam | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008

I don't know what happened. I don't know whether I pulled a Steve Urkel and "fallen and can't get up", or what... but I pulled a small blogging break. I think maybe a few of you have been there before. One day of relaxing turns into two, and so on, and so on...
So that's kinda what happened I guess. I took a hiatus, a vacation, a well deserved rest, if you will.

And in these last couple of days of hanging out at home with the family, and now having a diploma, I think I've learned a few things... ok well not school related things...
  • Behind each great person and act of hard work are a bunch of harder working and caring individuals
  • Mulled wine is a very, very good thing... I recommend it
  • Think if what you are doing right now brings you closer to where you want to be
  • You can never have too many friends :)
  • Just about every holiday cookie recipe seems to start with two sticks of butter
  • The clearance racks are you friends for holiday shopping
Ha, ok maybe that was a little random. But they are the first things that have been on my mind today. Oh, and another... I've been watching people at the gym, and noticed that no one trains their glutes. No one. I'm guessing quite a few of them have hip or back pain too. Should I write up a butt routine? I think I will soon. Something that will make your significant other say "Are you going to stand during the whole movie? Why don't you sit down?" You can't.

I'm sorry that there is no recipe for today. I've been trying to help everyone eat a little better, so that kind of makes cookies and the like a little difficult to make. However, (sounding trumpets) holiday baking is among us. So, I promise to have a couple of family recipes for you in the next few days or early next week. They probably won't be healthy, but it really only is for once a year, right :)

I'd like to take the time to thank everyone who has come by the blog in its short break to leave a comment and say how much they like everything. Don't take anything personal if I haven't been too active lately, it's just that things are going to be a little busy until the next year. I still have job interviews and holiday things with the family coming up, so it all takes a little time.
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I appreciate everyone who comes by here to laugh and have a good time :) Always feel free to leave a comment, but if you can't or don't want to, well that's cool too. I'm easy going, and I blog for myself... I just don't mind having a few million travelers with me :)

My two last orders of business are to thank a bunch of bloggers for awards that were recently, and by recently I mean like months ago... passed on to me. Sadly, I don't remember what award goes where, but I still love getting all of them. So, I'd like to thank:

Steph at Obsessed with Baking, Shreya at Mom's Cooking, Mikky at My Finds..., Teresa at Mexican-American Cookbook, and Maria at Two Peas in a Pod. These gals are always very, very cool people and have fantastic recipes. We have Indian, Mexican, Chocolate, Healthy, Baking of all sorts found in these blogs. You'll find anything to meet your fancy needs.

And finally, lastly.... Astra at Food for Laughter tagged me for a MeMe... this looked pretty cool so I'll throw it in here at the end. I think her blog is fantastic, and her healthy recipes always give me new ideas and insights to try. (And don't worry, your schooling will be over soon too :)

You have to answer with one word answers... kinda tricky, because I'm a talker :)

1. Where is your cell phone? Away
2. Where is your significant other? Single
3. Your hair color? Light
4. Your mother? Fun
5. Your father? Caring
6. Your favorite thing? People
7. Your dream last night? Battle
8. Your dream/goal? Chiropractic
9. The room you’re in? Kitchen
11. Your fear? Snakes
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Rich
13. Where were you last night? Mall
14. What you’re not? Quiet
15. One of your wish-list items? Shoes
16. Where you grew up? NY
17. The last thing you did? Eat
18. What are you wearing? Flannel
19. Your TV? Off
20. Your pet? DOGS
21. Your computer? Warm
22. Your mood? Starving
23. Missing someone? Nope
24. Your car? Snowy
25. Something you’re not wearing? Gloves
26. Favorite store? Market
27. Your summer? Awesome
28. Love someone? Yup
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Constantly
31. Last time you cried? E.T

Instead of tagging people on particular, because I can think of too many people who would have hilarious responses... the first 5 people to comment are going to do the Meme, if they want to. They can also take any award from my award wall too. Am I changing the rules? Maybe, but come on, just trust a doctor... it'll be alright :)

Slice of Cranberry Heaven

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, November 24, 2008

Well James Brown said it best... I Feel Good. Really, really, really good. Well, I don't want to get into any type of bragging mode or anything, but I have a bunch of reasons.
  • I don't have to go to school ever, ever again
  • The Jets are 8-3 and probably one of the best teams in the AFC
  • My workouts are going really well
  • I have a month of relaxing ahead of me
  • The holidays are coming, and thankfully, I don't get stressed out by them
  • Oh, I'm a doctor
So, that's my new life in a nutshell. Yes, I've been away from blogging more than I'd like, but I had a couple of loose ends to tie up. Sure, I still have traveling and a few interviews to do still, but at least there's no more homework... ever. If you can't imagine how awesome this is, just think of the second best feeling in your life :) Thanks to everyone wishing me well, I really appreciate it, and if you need any health doctor-y advice, I'm here for ya best I can.

So onto the baking. Earlier this week was my mother's birthday. Now, she's not one to fuss about birthdays and always gives me the "don't get me anything" line. I'm sure you've recieved the same thing before sometime. The celebration person in question looks you in the eye, and with sincerity that could fool a lie detector machine and win an Oscar, tells you not to do anything special for them.

Ladies, and especially gentlemen... this is a trap. Come on, you have to do something. Seriously. I mean it's your mom... she was there to hang your demented stick looking dog picture on the fridge when you were 4. Do something.

The problem I had was that this year, her birthday is really wicked close to Thanksgiving. I didn't want to send the house into dessert overload prematurely, so I needed something light, festive, and fall. I scratched my head, and thought for a bit.

Don't think chocolate... we are not a chocolate household. It's tough right? It's like golfing without clubs... so without further adieu... I give you...

Cranberry Orange Angel Food Cake. Just what the doctor ordered (or made). Light, simple, easy to throw together, and uniquely awesome. Plus there's like no fat. This is a bodybuilders post workout dream of fluffy cloud tart goodness.

Cranberry Orange Angel Food Cake
Recipe by Adam

-1 cup cake flour

-1 1/2 cups of sugar

-12 egg whites

-1 tsp cream of tartar

-1/4 tsp salt -1 tsp vanilla
-1 tbsp Grand Marnier

-2 tsp orange zest

-6 oz fresh cranberries

Super easy recipe. Preheat your oven to 350*. Set your rack to the bottom if you are using an angel food cake pan, or middle if you are using something else.


In a large, metal or glass bowl (make sure it's clean, no grease or grime), whip the egg whites with an electric mixer. Don't use your arms... they will probably fall off. Whip the whites on medium speed for a bit, and mix in the cream of tartar and salt. Take the speed up a notch, and as it comes together, add a little of the sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Keep adding sugar as the whites increase in volume, and all of the sugar has been used. You want some soft to semi firm peaks forming.


Fold in the flour, gently, and return to beating the mixture so it's well incorporated. Once the flour is in, add the vanilla, orange zest, and Grand Mariner. Fold in the cranberries last, and make sure everything is well blended.

Pour the batter into the angel food pan, making sure it's very clean of grease and dirt, and smooth over evenly. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown, and dry to the touch.
Immediately take the pan out of the oven and flip it over, so the dome cylinder thing in the pan is supporting the pan and cake. Let it cool like this until it's cool. Run a knife around the edge, and take it carefully out. Serve it up.

This cake was a nice Fall festive change of pace for the impending (but in a good way) Thanksgiving countdown. I think the fall flavors mixed well nicely, and the tartness of the cranberries work well with a cake that is pretty much all sugar. Insulin can definitely be a delicious thing :) Did the cranberries sink to the bottom? Yup. Did I try to coat them with four? Yup. But there's a couple of things I learned this week...

4 dogs in your house is too many... people are picky about their Thanksgiving traditions and changing up their favorite foods... and cranberries don't like to be coated in flour :)

So to all my good blogging buddies, give this cake a try when you want something that's not heavy and rich. You'll be impressed, just like I'm impressed at all the awesome food creations out there recently. Keep it real, and I'll be back this week :)
Angel

Gotta Have My Oats

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I've been in a cookie mood all week. It's been an empty pit inside me, like a void that only a certain chewy, buttery goodness could fill. So what do you do when your stomach and soul has this kind of weird kind of 'help me, dude' feeling?

You fill it.

The king of all cookies in Adam's world are oatmeal cookies, and then closely followed by sugar. Yup, it's a pretty much a two horse race, with the winner having better chance if I haven't seen them in awhile. Or, in this case, when fellow bloggers make something that reminds me of my childhood. Ever find it funny how you can't shake some of your childhood habits no matter how much you try? There's nail biting, pouting with stomping feet, temper tantrums... and of course childhood foods.

I'm not talking about mashed peas in your hair... but oatmeal cookies.

If you haven't already (and I bet you have), check out Maria's blog over at Two Peas and Their Pod. She has a fantastic site that focuses on healthy, spontaneous recipes, and she knows no boundaries in the culinary world. From desserts to soups, she rocks it. That's all you need to know :) So when I stumbled on her Iced Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies, I heard a voice call me. Because it wasn't a telemarketer or school loans calling, I answered :) While I absolutely love her base recipe, I of course just added a couple of things, because... well... that's what I feeling. You can view her original here.

Iced Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe from Maria
-4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 cup applesauce (
homemade in my case)
-1 tsp vanilla

-1 1/2 cups oatmeal

-1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ginger
-Zest of one orange

-Dash of salt
-1 cup raisins


Preheat your oven to 350*, and set your oven's middle rack up.
In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter together until well combined, and then add the egg, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix well until evenly incorporated, brown and smooth, about two minutes. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, zest, and salt, and mix and fold until it comes together into an oaty, great smelling dough. Fold in the cup of raisins gently.

On an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop out the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the sheets, leaving spaces for cookie growth. I made about 2 dozen cookies. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch, and let cool on in pans of a minute. Then cool completely on wire racks.


Whoa, Adam... you forgot the Iced part of the cookies? Well... yes... yes I did. I just don't think they need them. The cookies are super soft, and the flavor is wicked strong already. So I like them the way they are. So I'm sorry to offend any frosting-heads, but I'm walking away from it. You can go for it if you want, but I'm going down the icing-less road. And what a delicious road it is.

Now because it's been a week since I posted last, I thought I would share a little more info with you cool cats today. Susan at Yum Ninja tagged me... so I need to share 7 more facts about myself. I'm lucky I'm very, very, interesting. Here's some randomness...
  • I'm a quick learner, but sometimes try to start things before I should
  • I'd rather sit shotgun than drive most days
  • I enjoy going to the mall and people watching
  • I get excited when lobsters go on sale
  • I still watch the Thanksgiving parade... still
  • A good song on the radio can completely flip my mood
  • When I go out to eat, I have to get something I would never make at home
Well that's it. I have to get going on my last week of my internship, and as of Monday... I'm d-u-n done, baby. Have an awesome week :)

Secret Agent Muffins

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It blows my mind how different yeast breads and their friends can be. They all have yeast, flour, salt, a little milk or fat, and yet we have all sorts of different types. Rolls, braids, loafs... and of course, the kind that really doesn't make any sense... English muffins.

Muffins of any other kind are those hearty, breakfast, cupcake type things... but English Muffins are a whole different beast altogether. It's like part biscuit, part hand-held type bread. It's like the Gameboy of baked yeast breads... and just about everybody loves them. I just never knew until this week, just how awesome they are... homemade style. Sound crazy? Well, I am back home now, and they always say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree :) That's a compliment Mom... pretty much :)

So, we made English Muffins from scratch... yup, just like good old Mr. Thomas probably did... many, many moons ago. And if I may make a recommendation (like I guess I always do, especially on Fridays), give these a shot. They taste SO much better than their store evil twins... but you knew that already. Oh, and thanks Mom for helping working on my yeast fear. Hopefully we can take care of a few more things in the next month :)

And before I get started, these directions are a little long, so I'll paraphrase and try to keep it concise... I'm not a bread baker, but I'll try.


English Muffins
Recipe Unknown

Dry/Yeast Mixture:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
-2 tsp salt
-1 pkg dry yeast


Liquid Mixture:

- 1 3/4 cups milk

- 1/4 cup water

- 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted

-1-2 cups additional flour

-1 egg

-cornmeal for dusting


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast... set this aside.
In a small sauce pan, heat the milk, water, and butter until very warm (about 120*-130*F).

Add this gradually to the dry mixture and beat on medium speed in a stand up mixer for 2-3 minutes. Add one egg and another 1 cup of flour, and beat on high for 2 minutes. Continue to add small amounts of flour so that a soft dough forms. Remove this dough from the bowl, and knead until it is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add small amounts of flour. Place back in the bowl, cover, and let rise until it doubles... about one hour.

After it's doubled, punch it down like it called your spouse fat, cover, and let it rise back again... about 45 minutes. Punch it down again like it didn't learn it's lesson :) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until 1/2" thickness. With a 3/4" round cutter, cut out the muffins.

Sprinkle a cookie sheet with cornmeal, and place the muffins about 1" apart from each other. Sprinkle the tops with more cornmeal. Cover and let rise again for another 45 minutes... I know but they need it.


Over low heat, lightly grease a griddle or a heavy skillet. Once the surface is hot, place the muffins with a metal spatula - be careful not to damage or deflate them - on the griddle. They will expand both up and outwards as they cook on each side. Flip over each muffin as they brown, but don't let them burn... they will get too crunchy. This takes about 5 minutes a side. Make sure each side is evenly brown, and cool them on wire racks.
This recipe makes anywhere from 20-24 muffins, depending on how thick they are.

I found a newfound love for English Muffins with this recipe. There is no oven usage, and they are a perfect vehicle for any type of spread or topping. The yeast flavor is simply delicious, and they have a much chewier texture. I had to have this with fresh cranberry sauce. Other great things about this recipe are the variations you can do. Wanna go for whole wheat, honey oatmeal, onion, cheddar, sweet potato, maple, apple nut... then go for it. I think any type of bread you've ever seen or heard about would work wonders. I just went for plain old fashioned, because I had to make sure the recipe worked first.

Live once to live... live twice to live awesome.

Well, that's it for this kid. In case you haven't noticed, a bit busy with all the family/school/job search type things, but I"m still digging all the blogs and recipes. Everything looks great, so keep up the good work, good buddies :)

Fitness Fun Fridays #17

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, November 07, 2008

Did I say Happy November already? Well, Happy November. It's getting cold, and winter is starting to roll on in. I've seen cars with snow on them already... crazy right?

So now that the candy overload is over, we're going to focus on something that is really, really simple... but yet many people just don't get a good grasp on it. Now I'm not talking about physics, or calculus, or Paula Abdul dance routines... I'm talking about water.

We (as a people), just don't get enough water. It's on supermarket shelves, the movie theaters, the fountains at the gym, but how much do you really get in a day? I remember years ago they said to get about 8 glasses... which equates to about 64 oz in American terms (sorry Europe kids). Now I'm going to tell you something that might make you scratch your head and laugh...

That's no where near enough. Not at all.

Water is 60% of your bodyweight, and fluctuates more than your heart rate when you see football captain Joe Cool at the school dance.

If you don't believe me... ask the scale in your bathroom. You lost 3 pounds this morning from last night? Or you gained 2 after eating a slice of chocolate cake? Well, while hard work/guilty pleasure may have played a role... there's no way your made that much of an impact in one day. Remember there's 3500 calories to a pound. So wait a minute... what gives?

Water gives. Your body gains and flushes it out at a constantly regulated rate, depending on the situation. You need it for nutritent transportation, chemical reactions, body tissue structure and as a lubricant. Your blood is made up of water... think about it :)

I was recently thinking about doing a water post because after eating candy or salty foods many people feel bloated. Sodium tends to hold onto water, and gives you the appearance of being much heavier than you are. All you have to do is "debloat" and you'll feel and look much better. While there's many ways to do this, I like to keep it to only two simple steps:
  • Drink more water
  • Avoid sodium, and artificial ingredients, including sweetners, because they hold on to water molecules
Now, this may sound surprising, but drinking more water will actually make you look thinner. To make this less confusing, I like to give this analogy:

Let's say you have one dollar to your name. One lonely dollar... and I want to take it from you :) Now, the odds of you giving it to me are very, very low, because hey, it's your last dollar ever. Now let's say you get a steady hourly paycheck, and you have constant money coming on in. Can I have a buck? Please? Awesome, thanks :)

Your body works the same way with water. If it knows that water is going to be coming eventually, it's more willing to part with the stored water you already have. But if it's in a constant state of dehydration (no matter how mild) it's going to hold on to it like a life depends on it... because it does :)
Here are some clinical signs of dehydration:
  1. Headaches and fatigue
  2. Decreased appetite (usually not a problem for us)
  3. Light headedness, dry mouth
  4. Increased heartrate, and small volumes of concentrated urine
As far as weight control goes... drinking water is your friend. The ability to reconize hunger vs. thirst is very difficult, if not impossible to distingush from each other... so when you feel hungry 30 minutes after you just ate... there's a chance you might be thirsty. Drink a glass and see if the feeling goes away. You might suprise yourself :)

On a personal note, I used to get killer headaches during my workouts. Funny thing was, when I started drinking more good old water, it all went away. Pretty cool, huh?

So now you might be wondering, well how much? Recent reserach says about 35 ml per kg of bodyweight. This averages out to like 2 - 2.5 liters per person. I would say that this is an absolutle minimum. I like to get about a gallon, or 3.75 liters per day, with probably most of it centered around my time at the gym. Do I pee alot? Yeah probably, but it's not too bad. I just trt make sure I'm not stuck in an elevator or a bubble :)

Annnnd I'm done. Remember, water... it does a body good. Have a fantastic weekend, and for all of my Facebook friends who wished me congrats and good luck with my soon to be graduation, thank you so very, very, much. You are all awesome... and it feels amazing knowing that everyone is really rooting for me :) Thanks.

Kickin' at the Cobbler Stones

33

Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ok, Halloween was awesome. My very good childhood friend threw a party, and we had cops, nurses, lumberjacks, ninjas, ladybugs, all sorts of cool characters. Everyone got along with each other, and there was just good vibes all around. Ever go somewhere and the energy is just so positive you feel it? That's how it was. Well, maybe a giant bonfire gave off some energy too :)

So anyways, it's back to the baking. With the holiday now being done, there are sad looking pumpkins everywhere. Houses are packing up their orange and black colors, and now pumpkins are being smashed, Billy Corgan style.

This is a special announcement. If you have any spare, unsheathed pumpkins around... do not smash them... EAT THEM :)

So that's how today's recipe got started. I sliced up, peeled, and boiled an entire pumpkin. As the house was littered with pumpkin guts and seeds, I noticed two things...
  1. Cutting up pumpkin is hard work and requires Napoleon Dynamite type knife skills
  2. Canned pumpkin is not actually pumpkin, but butternut squash... how crazy is that?
So I boiled and mashed an entire Jack O' Lantern, and ended up with like a huge pot of yellow puree mush. What to do? I do love pumpkin pie (my favorite Thanksgiving pie next to Apple) but I'm not feeling it. I thumbed through Dorie's book for inspiration, and came up with... Pumpkin Spice Apple Figtastic Cobbler. Nope, I'm not a mad scientist on Halloween or any other day, I'm just a little crazy off pumpkin fumes...
Step One - Filling
Pumpkin Spice Apple Fig Cobbler
Recipe by Adam
For the Filling:

-2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh... if you want actual pumpkin)
-2 Apples, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces

-3/4 cup packed brown sugar

-1/2 cup dried chopped figs
-1/2 cup raisins

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp cloves

-Zest of one lemon

Cobbler Topping:

-1 1/2 cups AP flour (or 3/4 + 3/4 whole wheat and AP)

-1 tablespoon baking powder

-3 tablespoons packed, brown sugar
-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp allspice (or cinnamon)

-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold as ice, and cut into pieces

-1/2 cup milk (nonfat or whatever you have)


Preheat your oven to 375*, and position a center rack in the oven. You can preheat it now, or in between the filling and cobbler making process.


To make the filling: In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, and all the other ingredients together, folding and especially making sure the sugar and spices are evenly distributed. Feel free to taste it, and make spice and sweet adjustments as necessary.

Pour the filling into a buttered 8x8 pan, and smooth over the top with a spatula.
Meanwhile, make the cobbler topping. In another bowl, measure out and add the flour(s), salt, spice, and baking powder. Mix evenly, and add the ice cold butter. I use my hands, and mix the butter and flour together until they form a disorganized mess of coarse sand and butter pieces. Add the milk, and mix with a spoon/spatula until the dough comes together and is kind of soft and sticky. Knead for a bit to make sure it's all together.

Tear off pieces of dough and roll into small balls with your hands, about the size of the golf ball. Place on the pumpkin mixture in the pan, you should end up with like 16-20 pieces of dough on the pan.
Bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until the cobbler is bubbling, and the dough is golden brown. Take out, let cool for a bit, and serve it up baby.
Step Two... Cobble and Bake
Step 3... Slice and Scoop
And that about says it all...

Was this better than pumpkin pie? Umm... it's a different kind of good. My pumpkin pie doesn't have apples or raisins, so this was a nice, delicious change of pace. I think it tastes like Fall, and without all the twigs and leaves in your mouth. I've eaten leaves before (party related) and this is nothing like that :)

So that's it for today. If you're American, get out there and vote! I know it's the lesser of two evils... like it is every year... but at least we live in a country where we can voice our opinion. That's something to never take for granted, and I always think back to what our forefathers had to sacrifice some 200+ years ago. Stand up and be counted, good buddies :)
Cobbler

Fitness Fun Fridays #16

46

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallllllllloooween! Hahaha I love this time of year. I mean who doesn't like blood, ghosts, and a good scare? Ok... fake blood, then :) I'm not a fan of the red stuff either. I hope everyone has some cool plans and is getting ready to have a scarified safe one.

Yes, I am aware that I missed last Friday. I'm sorry, and while it was totally my fault, I want to blame it on not having a computer at the hotel. I got all the towels, soap, and pool use I want, but computers and Internet... not so much :) My bad, ladies and dudes... but don't worry cool kids, it's time to be brought back to the land where learning is fun, and you walk away from the computer a little smarter.

In celebration of the upcoming awesome holiday (and impending holiday season for that matter), we going to talk about something that mind be bothering some of you... How in the world do I limit holiday weight gain? I mean candy is everywhere, and it understands me...

I have no problem with the holidays. Why? Because holidays are a special day. Imagine how special your birthday would be if it was everyday, or everyweek. It would be boring and routine, and we'd all be much, much older than we are now :) So, with this in mind, to limit any type of overindulgence, remember...

Halloween and other holidays are just one day. If that Kit Kat, or Almond Joy, or whatever is calling your name... go ahead and answer, but keep a limit to yourself. Say something like, well today is Oct 31, so I'll have a piece of candy or two for the next day or two. And that's it. Cut yourself off after that. Just like spilling a beer at a party, this might sound like heresy... but throw the candy out after Election Day. Vote for a president, and vote to stay the healthy holiday eating course. Your body will love you for it :)

Keep up your regular workout routine (shopping, swimming, raking leaves, etc.). As the weather gets colder, we find more and more reasons to stay inside and not brave the harsh elements. Now I'm not saying 'Dude there's 5 feet of snow outside, head over to the gym', but I'm saying just keep up the schedule. The more of a habit you make something, the easier and automatic it becomes.

Always remember to eat balanced meals, especially with protein and fats. Protein and fats keep your metabolism humming along, and also decrease your spike in insulin and blood sugar. While eating turkey breast with a side of Snickers doesn't sound too appetizing, it's more important that you eat balanced meals throughout the day... and then your treats afterward. Having candy as a snack by itself actually has a more detrimental affect than if coupled with other healthy food.

So you just ate 15 King Size Bars? Wow, what houses did you hit up Trick or Treating? Can I come? Anyways, don't worry, it's not the end of the world :) Just remember, stay active. Try your best to:
  • Go take your kids to a corn maze and burn off some energy (just don't lose them),
  • Go to a Haunted House
  • Make a Leaf-Man (like a snowman but with leaves)
  • Apple Picking takes tons of energy and is hilarious
  • Go for a brisk walk with the family before it gets too wicked cold :)
Just remember holidays are special because they happen only a few times a year, so have a good time, and keep your sanity. We definitely have enough going on already, right?

So that's going to be it for today everyone. Thank you all so very much for wishing me luck as I finish school. There's about 25 days left, so I'm just hanging around home, internship-ing for a few hours a week, and trying to take it easy. I'm slowing making my blog rounds, and everyone has such awesome treats going on. I'm going on pumpkin overload, but in a very good way :) Keep 'em coming...

So now, I leave you with some pictures of the past. I like to dress up each year, even as I get older. Since I started chiropractic school I have been...

Joe Dirt
Ron Burgundy
Beetlejuice

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween Folks!
Pumpkin

Home, Home on the... Ponderosa

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Monday, October 27, 2008

And... I'm back dudes and ladies! Oh man, I've been around the world more in these past 10 days then I have in about a year. Buffalo, NYC, and North Carolina... it was different all around. Wings one day, then China Town food, and then Southern Style biscuits and BBQ :) I think my stomach got extremely confused :)

Firstly, and probably most importantly... thanks to everyone for wishing me luck and a good travel. The flights on both trips were more smooth and quick than a nice beer on a summer day, and I realized that flying really is pretty awesome. And I didn't even get stopped at security this time, which was really nice for once.

So after I came back from NC (which was awesome thanks to a super cool blogger showing me around... more on that later), my parents came on up the following morning, and we packed up all of my stuff and headed back to Albany, NY. I am very relieved to be back home, with my family and dogs, and just relaxing until I graduate :) I know I've been absent from Blogland, but I'll do my best to catch on up and visit all of you lovely people. I have free time now, and my mom and I will probably be doing some sweet baking over the next few weeks... so stay tuned :)

So, as a present to wish me off, my Canadian roommate (no he doesn't say 'eh all the time) made me this family favorite of his. Maybe some of you have heard of it, but I never had... it's this thing called Ponderosa Cake. Cool name, right? Do those buffet restaurants still exist? It's a pretty dense cake, filled with a cinnamon sugar layer, and covered with a brown sugar cinnamon topping and chocolate chips.

Is it awesome? Totally... especially if you're a cinnamon fan like me. I'd say it's like a tender coffee cake, but with chocolate.... and it disappears in about 3 seconds in front of a group of hungry chiropractic students. Seriously, don't blink:)

Now, unfortunately... I did not get the EXACT recipe, but there are a few of them online if you search around. I think it's very similar to the one found here. It's a big, cake, so it takes close to an hour to bake in a 13x9. If any of the Cananaidans out there has a different recipe, I'd like to see it... because many of us Americans don't know much about this delicious cake.
That's all I have for now... I'm still kinda wiped from sleeping in a bunch of different places. I now know how nomads and Christmas hams feel like :) Stay tuned for family desserts, and don't worry, FFF will be back. We need all need advice on Halloween candy control :) Did you know that Tootsie rolls make you stronger? Ha... juuust kidding :)

Milestones, Traveling, and Blogging Buddies

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ok, this is HUGE. H-U-G-E. With both some new readers, and the always beautiful BwD faithful, I reached 50 comments not once... but twice. How awesome is that? And guess what? This is my 50th post. I know... it's crazy. I remember my first few posts, and I was like "I'm kinda running out of material, how do I keep this going?"

The short answer is just keep on typing whatever pops into your head (but PG-13 rated and lower helps), and just have fun. Make some friends, and just be your awesome self. If people didn't like you, or they wouldn't really come by, right? So bascially I'm going to treat this like Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, and just keep rolling with the punches.

So to everyone that helped me on my monumental climb to Cloud 50, thank you ever so much. Since coming back from my trip late Monday, I've already tried to make some rounds, and dropping comments like I did Buffalo wings... into my stomach :)

I have some rather unfortunate news though... and I apologize in advance.

Due to my packing and moving back home this coming Sunday... all baking and glorified food photos are suspended... until early next week. I've packed up my pans, my flour and whatever is left... and I just don't have the time to devote to making awesome sweets. I'm leaving for NC for chiropractic job stuff on Thursday, I come back on Saturday, and then I drive back home to Albany on Sunday. It's going to be a little nuts... but I'm going to make it fun at the same time :)

So, this post is just to let you guys and gals know a few, albeit random things (which you might like):
  1. Everyone who helped me reach 50... you are cooler than an a frozen Vanilla Ice
  2. Don't worry if I'm not around commenting this week... as Arnold said in T2... I'll be back
  3. To the new readers... thanks for checking me out
  4. Buffalo wings are good hangover food... yup
  5. I'm not 18 anymore... or at least my body knows it
  6. If you're still up at 4am, you probably have a good story to tell :)
And finally, I have a few awards and unfinished business to take care of...

Now it's been awhile since I've recieved these, and due to some absent-mindness and somewhat of a hectic schdule... I kinda forgot who gave me exactly what... but here goes :)
Helene of La Cuisine de Helene gave me this Kreative Blogger Award... which I much appreciate. They even spelled creative in a cool way. Thanks!
Carla of Chocolate Moosey gave me this I Love you This Much Award... which is really sweet, but sometimes I think she just wants me for my chocolate... or moose... haha j/k :)
Shreya of Mom's Cooking is a good friend of mine from another time zone, and about a half day away. Even though we live in totally different times, we love good food and good laughs. It's very BFF quality :)

Whew, and that's it. Anu of ...And a Little Bit More... has a fantastic, healthy centered blog. It is a new favorite of mine, and I absolutley love how she incoropates a balanced life style with knockout sweets. She recently tagged me... with these rules:

The rules of the tag are:
(a) List these rules on your blog.
(b) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
(c) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

So here are mine.... random facts about me... totally random...
  1. I love breakfast at any time of the day
  2. I actually enjoy shopping with mom
  3. I talk too much during class... or back when I took classes
  4. I have blue eyes
  5. I can't wait to finally start making money
  6. I think Halloween has the best decorations of any holiday
  7. I am very, very excited for the new James Bond
If you want to learn more about me... complete with pictures... you can click here too...
And I need to pass this on to 7 others... hmmm... VeggieGirl, Carla, Natalie, Ben, Dawn, Teresa, and Sarah. I bet they all have some cool responses for us :)

Ok, sorry for the rambling and long post. I have to go pack up some more boxes... remember to stay cool, don't play with sea urchins or fire, and I'll be around your blog soon. If you have any good reccomendations for sights in the Raleigh/Greensboro area... write me an email. Thanks :)

Fitness Fun Fridays #15

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, October 17, 2008

Let me just start out by saying that the gym etiquette comments were probably the most fun comments that the universe has ever seen. Everyone had an individual story, and you guys covered alot of things that I missed... like water fountain loogie-ers and people that wear cologne and makeup to work out. Great stuff... like Mastercard priceless even :)

Well if you're reading this, then Blogger helped a brother out on my first MIA posting. As we speak (or read), I'm away on a short vacation in Buffalo, NY, visiting friends and relaxing until a semi-hectic week begins. I'm not sure if I said this before, but my school has two clinics, the one on Long Island near NYC (where I am), and this other one in Buffalo. So, my plan is to do what normal college kids do, which is go out and be awesome, all while maybe part taking in some Buffalo wings. What do they say? When in Rome...

So today is going to be a pretty short and sweet post, because you need to enjoy your Friday, and I need to go buy some Franks Red Hot... which is the hot sauce of choice in NY :)

Today is going to cover Protein/Meal Replacement Bars. Now, before I start... let me tell you I am not a big protein bar fan. Sure they are convenient, they are awesome for the car and traveling, they CAN be good for dieters (remember to watch calories)... but I just like whole food so much better. I'm a big eater, and these bars are about the size of a cell phone from early 2000. I'm hungry afterwards... like 5 minutes after. And there's no broccoli flavor, either.

I was just kidding about that. Veggie flavored bars would be pretty strange if you ask me.

However, when I'm on the go, or super busy... I do partake in protein bar consumption. And if you like them, that's cool too. My dad loves them, and thinks they are great for work, but he's always confused about the label. Ya know, that nutrition fact stuff. So let's sort this craziness out :)

We're going to tackle this in 3 steps. The first step is the easiest, then it gets a little more difficult as we go along... kinda like the levels in Tetris.

First, find a flavor you like. Choco-banana-mint-cheesecake-smore whatever. Whew, that was easy. Now get past the shiny wrapper and flip the bar over.

We are once again going to look at calories, fat, carbs, and protein. First make sure the bar has calories that fit in your 'diet budget', and then take a look at the individual numbers. You might be surprised to see how high some of these numbers are. Here is an example of a Clif Bar nutrition that I randomly pulled. 6 grams of fat isn't bad... that's fine for a meal, and the protein is good at 11 grams, but the problem here is the sugar content. 20 grams! Whoa, how did the the elves fit 20 grams in this thing? Do you know what other bars have about 20 grams of sugar? You may have heard of them...

Anybody care for a regular Hershey's or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?

So, the moral of this story is to watch your sugar in these bars :) Sugar as you may have read in a prior FFF post, spikes your insulin, and can lead to fat gain. Look for bars that are low in sugar, and higher in fiber, which will make you feel more full, and slow down digestion. I'd say 5 grams of fiber or more is a good number to shoot for. Brands that I like that do this include Lara Bars, and some of the Luna and South Beach Bars. While some of their fat content is high, they are from natural sources (think like nuts or natural oils) and the carbs are equaled out with the fiber. Ingredients are important, which we'll tackle next.

Without going too crazy in depth, if you can't say the words, they are probably not good for you. Remember those commercials with the kids reading the ice cream ingredients? It's like that :) If you see partial hydrogenated anything, put it on the shelf. This is trans-fat, and is unhealthy no matter how you look at it. Your body can't break it down. It's like digesting a tin can, and you're not a goat :) Unfortunately, many of the bars have these kinds of oils, because they prolong shelf life, which can last up to years. It's a preservative. Just something to think about.

So are all protein bars bad? No of course not. Just like any other food, they can be part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle, especially when you're in a rush. Just make sure to read the labels, watch the sugar and funny words, and make sure the ingredients are as natural as possible. I know for a fact that VeggieGirl loves Lara Bars, and they are both organic and vegan. Dawn actually put up a review about some bars before, (see... men can remember things) and I would trust her with my health and tastebuds. Heck, her and I are taste-buds... get it haha :)

Sorry for the semi-rushed post, but that's all I have this week. A special thanks to everyone who has been supportive to me reaching 50 posts... I feel like everyone is really routing for me, like Rudy. If I'm not around to comment on your blogs, it's because I don't have a computer this weekend. The rest of my week is hectic as I travel to North Carolina, and then packing up my life and moving back to mom and dad in Albany. Just bear with me, and I'll be back to visiting and leaving funny comments as best I can :) Enjoy your weekend guys!

I Got My PBBB Yeah You Know Me

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well, let me just start that I am more than blown away from my Pumpkin Brownie post. We're talking like Twister style blown away. As of the time of this post, I have 46 comments! 46! That's a brand new high for Baking with Dynamite, and it's sooo close to 50. 50 is going to be my new goal, and I figure with a little more hard work, and maybe a joke or five, I can totally reach that. Thanks to everyone who supported my crazy concoction... and also to those who are still friends with a 'non-chocolate'-aholic :)

Well, since the last post took quite the amount of creative juices from my brain (not to scale), I'm now heading back to something simple, tried, and true. When it comes to family desserts, I have about 4 or 5 completely committed to memory. I've blogged about a couple of them before, such as here, here, or here... and then I have this one. Do you have any baked recipes that you can whip up without any consultation? I bet you guys have quite a few.

Since I have started blogging, the word Banana Bread has now become synonymous with my super fun dancing colleague, VeggieGirl. She always makes creative, delicious, "not yo mama's" banana bread. She recently had this post for Peanut Butter Banana Bread, and it got me thinking... Well, I do love PB and Banana sandwiches, so let's give this a go :)
I decided to take a recipe that my mother and I have been using for years, and I love it because I can just eyeball things. It's not a finicky recipe, so if you're not exact, it's not too big of a deal.

With me moving back home in two weeks, I thought this would be a great idea to use up whatever baking supplies I have left. When you have limited travel space, sometimes that extra flour and sugar just has to get used, right? Oh, the things I must do sometimes :)


Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Recipe by Mom

-1 1/2 cups AP flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-2 ripe beyond repair bananas, mashed
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 egg
-1 tbsp canola oil
-1/2 cup juice (apple, orange, whatever you think would work)
-1/2 cup (or more) peanut butter (optional)


Preheat your oven to 350*. Set up the center rack, and grease a standard loaf pan.


In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together.


In a medium bowl, mix the bananas, vanilla, egg, oil, juice, and peanut butter together, until it is an evenly mixed, sweet smelling mushy mass.


Add the wet banana ingredients to the dry team, and stir until combined together. Pour into the greased loaf pan, and bake for ~40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Peanut butter is optional in this recipe, and so is the shredded coconut I put on top.

And that's it guys, the easiest banana bread recipe you might ever find. It might not actually be the best you've ever had, but you have all the ingredients, and you can do whatever you want to it. Raisins, nuts, chips, whatever. When it comes to using juice, I like it because it gives a subtle flavor besides banana to the bread, and also sweetens it a bit without it being overly sicky sweet. Just use whatever you have on hand, or go with milk if you don't have any.

Few last notes my friends (not in a creepy McCain voice), remember to check out VeggieGirls site if you haven't already... but chances are, if you are a reader here, you know who she is :) Also, thanks for commenting on BwD, and for being cool cats, especially with the comments. The FFF post comments had me dying... seriously I hurt my stomach hurt :) 50 comments, here we come... soon.

This is what happens when you eat too much banana bread

Fitness Fun Friday #14

35

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, October 10, 2008

Ok, today is a going to be an easy going, laughing type day. Usually on Friday, I like everyone to learn at least one thing that'll carry on over into the weekend. Ya know, like a little gobstopper you can take for the road. So far, I've been having a blast balancing science with fun, and it hasn't been as difficult as keeping an elephant and a goose on a teeter totter :) Maybe some of you don't even realize you are learning, which is the ultimate goal of a teacher, right?

Well, today... the rules are getting broken. I don't know whether it's the weather (say that 5 times fast), or the fact that I've been listening to Poison alot lately... but today, I'm going to be science-less. Yup. Low on the science, high on the fun shenanigans.

Today is all about Gym Etiquette... idea courtesy of Tony at Olive Juice. He's a super cool cat with artistic skills that makes Monet blush, which is why he deserves the name "Big Ton, creator of delicious food". Ok, I'm the only one that probably calls him that.

While there are other lists like this on the Internet... I haven't checked but I imagine... this is going to be an original one by me. These are things I have seen and experienced over the years. All of these are personal opinions, but I bet we can agree on at least a couple :) So, for the first timer walking into the gym... please remember to:
  • Treat the gym like it's your home - clean up after yourself - I can't tell you how many times I put other people's weights away. They can be 20 lb weights, or 120 lb ones, and it doesn't matter how big the person is. I think if you are going to use effort to work out, then use a little more to clean up.
  • If you want to scream, keep it at home - Am I saying you can't exert effort? Of course not... lifting is an intense exercise, and you need to breathe correctly and everything. We all just don't need you to sound like a girl a New Kids concert.
  • Be friendly, and ask first, touch second - Ha this isn't about going out on a date, but about using gym equipment. The gym is like seats in a movie theater in the way that some stuff gets "saved" while they are gone for a second. If you aren't sure if someone is using something, ask first... it's more than likely you can use it, or 'work in with them'... share equipment.
  • Don't worry about what other people are doing - Just do what you would like to do. So someone is squatting 900 lbs? It's ok, let them do what they want. The gym is about bettering yourself, and worrying about others is not going to affect your personal goals or dreams. Numero uno is number one here :)
  • Don't walk in front of people who are training - This is HUGE. Here's a quick story: I am doing shoulder presses in front of a mirror. I am using alot of weight, and I need the mirror so I don't knock myself in the head. So I do a couple, and go... for... that lasssst one.... and some kid walks in front of me - Oh my goodness, I can't see!!, someone... anyone... Fear sets in... and I could've gotten really hurt. Moral of the story... just wait a second or two, then walk by... or just walk behind me.
  • Does this gym have a swimming pool? Oh that's a bench - If you left something a sweaty mess, please clean it up. This kind of goes with the first bullet :)
  • And finally - Get rid of the cell phone - Now, I know this might ruffle some feathers... I mean what if something important happens while you are gone? Johnny might need to get picked up from the game, or maybe you're the first one to find out that John Stamos is doing a book signing down the street... but, maybe, just maybe... it can wait. If you're in the gym for one hour a few times a week... this should be your time. Time totally devoted to you. No one should be able to contact you, and I think that's a good thing. It's relaxing, it's personal. Life can wait for the other 23 hours of the day, right?

So that's a couple of things I've learned in the past few years. I hope you smiled a least a few times :) Wait a minute, is it even possible to not smile, during a BwD post? I won't even try to hide it, I love the gym. Unless something really exciting or original is happening, it's pretty much the highlight of my day. It's probably not that big deal to you yet, but maybe one day :) Feel free to share any fun stories you have... I'm sure there's bound to be a couple. Have a fantastic weekend guys, and remember... you're awesome.

Treadmill