Merry Christmas New Year

21

Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm a pretty big fan of the weird type period between Christmas and New Years. The holiday festivities are over with, and it allows you to kinda catch your breath in between the fresh start of the big year ahead... 2010.

Are you as surprised as I am? Say it outloud... Twenty-Ten. It's so sci-fi... so Star Trekky... it just sounds like a big year. But the more important question is... Where the flip are the flying cars we're supposed to be using by now?

Then again... the way some people drive on roads... on the ground... I dunno if flying cars are the best idea. They'd have to make a special license, and maybe not let you get one until 25. Yup, I think it took me at least until that age to get rid of my invincibility shield and drive a car like a safe, normal person :)

So what's your goal for the new year? Eat right... lose weight? It's def among the top ten for resolutions each year, and I know for a fact the gyms are going to be packed for the next 4-6 weeks. I'm actually planning a 12 week weight loss program for people in the Raleigh area. Each week I'm going to do a lecture on a different topic, and we're going to put together diet plans and track everyone with body fat, tape measurements, and scale numbers each few weeks. Should be a pretty cool, fun thing to do... I just hope it has a big turnout.

Sorry, no recipes today... but I'll leave you a pic of some Christmas party cookies :)





Date Bars, Brown Sugar Cake, PB Fudge, Haystacks... Tasty Sugar Coma

Here's some resolutions I have... I want to post them so I stick to it... and hopefully reach all of them by Spring...
  1. Post on the blog 1-2 times a week consistently
  2. Volunteer more
  3. Get my bench press up to 315 and my deadlift to 405
  4. Start a new car fund and a Roth
  5. Put together a garden and maybe get some chickens
  6. And some others...
What's your resolutions? Anybody have anything really unique or fun?

If it's to exercise, here's some fun stuff to try I was messing around with the other day:

Dumbell Deadlift - Hamstrings, Glutes, Upper/Lower Back

Hamstring Curl - Core Strength, Hamstrings, Lumbar Spine

Pushup to Row - Core, Rhomboids, Traps, Lats, Chest and Shoulders

Have a Happy Rest of the Year and be safe :)

Kid Cookie Christmas

21

Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009

I have a confession to make... and you're probably going to laugh.

It's late December, one week until the fabled day. and that means Christmas music is ALL OVER the place. You can't escape it... and its ok sometimes. Just ok.

Well, today I couldn't really take it anymore. I've heard Mariah Carey I think 200 times already. Sure that's a fun song, but maybe we all need a little something extra for Christmas once in a while :)

So this I found this 90's station. And I don't know exactly how to explain this, but I listened to everything from Fuel to MC Hammer, to Ace of Base, to RHCP to STP. It was a real throwback to all the years that I grew up. Was I born with an 80's on my birth date? Sure... but I don't remember those days as much as I remember the 90's. Ah... what a nice break from the holiday madness :)

Here's a throwback cookie from my childhood... Thumbprints! How can you not be a kid and like these? I mean you make them, press them, and fill them with jam goodness. I love it because the combos are endless. If you're in a apricot, strawberry cherry, or blueberry mood, it does it all :)

Hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season. I've been wicked busy with work and everything, but once all the dust settles I should be a ton better. I've been making cookies for office parties, cookie exchanges, and a whole lot more. Talk about loading up the single guy with no family commitments this season. Just kidding... its cool, this is really what the season is all about... helping out each other.


90's Thumbprints
Dr. Adam
- 1/2 cup finely ground almonds (use a food processor or spice grinder, it's easy)
-1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
-1/2 cup sugar

-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut up into small pieces

-Any fruit spread, preserves, jelly, jam...


Preheat your oven to 350*. Line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper.


In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together, the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt.
Pour the butter into the bowl, and using your clean hands, rub it together until the crumbs becomes larger, and a very gritty, dry dough forms. If you have a tough time keeping it together, add a little bit of water.... very little. It should stay together, but barely.

Taking small portions of dough into your hands... like 1/2 tablespoonfuls... roll each into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Once you have 12-16 per sheet, flatten each ball with your thumb or finger, so there is an indent in the center.

Fill these indents with very small (like 1/4 tsp) amounts of jelly or preserves. If you fill them too much, they will def overflow :)


Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Place on the pans for a few minutes, and then on a wire rack completely. Makes about two and half dozen.

The Happiest of Holidays Everyone!

I may post a couple more of the holiday cookies over the next week or so. If not, they'll make the rotation into early next year!

If anyone has any weight loss or body recomp resolutions... well you know how to find me. My resolutions are to be more organized, have a full fledged garden, bench press 330, and get a lot better at adjusting extremities :)

See you next year, if not sooner :)

Gingersnaps

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Sunday, November 29, 2009

And.... the Holiday season is now in FULL FORCE. I have a small Christmas tree up, greeting cards are being filled out, Pumping Iron is in the DVD player... (wait a minute).

But I love this time year. It's like a last hurrah to get together with friends, and there is something crisp and special in the air. Who doesn't love cookie exchanges, Bad Santa type exchanges, and a good snowball fight? I won't have any snow this year (for once), but I think it's going to be a really welcome change. All you need is the right state of mind :)

I decided to kick things off with one of my favorite cookies... the super awesome Gingersnap. Now, before we get rolling, there's a minor controversy here. That is...

To snap or not to snap?

Some people like chewy gingerBREAD type cookies, and others like the hard, whoops I just got crumbs on my shirt SNAPS. Which are you? Is it possible to dig both?

While one of my personal favorite cookies are called Hermit Cookies, which are chewy, I think ginger cookies should be snaps. Yup. Crusty and messy.

So after looking at a couple of recipes for cookies that tended to be too soft for my liking, I found one that looked promising. Simple, a good amount of molasses, and crumbs in the picture. We have a winner here, folks :)


Gingersnaps Recipe
Taken from The Kitchn... I like this site

Makes about 75 cookies (but I got like 50 cause I make them larger- AB)

-1 cup sugar
-3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1 egg
-1/3 cup molasses
-2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon cloves
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

By hand or in a mixer, combine the sugar and butter. Add the egg and mix until the egg is completely combined. Stir in the molasses.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and all the spices. Whisk these dry ingredients to make sure everything is evenly distributed, then pour it on top of the wet ingredients. Use a folding motion to gently combine the wet and dry ingredients. Continue until no more flour is visible.

Turn on the oven to 375° and refrigerate the gingersnap dough while the oven is preheating.

When the oven is hot, measure out rounded teaspoons of dough. Roll the dough between your hands to shape tablespoon balls. Position the balls about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies have puffed and collapsed back on themselves.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Now, I couple of notes about these cookies. First, don't overbake... but come CLOSE. The instructions talk about the cookies puffing up, and THEN sinking is soooo right. You want that. The house will smell of awesome cloves and ginger, and they will look almost black, and that's what you want. Take them out, let them cool for a minute or two, and then on the rack.

If you want kinda chewy cookies, you can eat them that day. However, if you want Snapable cookies, you need to store them and eat them over the next couple days. Don't worry, they keep super well. I was eating them for almost a week afterwards... what can I say, 50 cookies is alot :)

I hope all of your ovens are still in good working order, with the huge influx of awesome sweets being made this holiday. I'm going to be busy these next few weeks, so I want to wish you the most awesome of holiday seasons. Enjoy yourselves, and let loose this month. Come next year, you can get back on the health and diet horse :)

Feeling Saucy and Soupy

23

Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2009

How's the pre-Thanksgiving festivities going? Anyone into full out cookie baking mode yet? I can feel them approaching. There's Christmas music on the radio here, and the stores have been absolutely plastered with green and red for a few weeks now. I can't blame them at all though... I read awhile back that the holiday season accounts for something like 60% of retail annual sales each year. That's not having all your eggs in one basket, but def more than half of them :)

The holidays are pretty much an awesome time. I think it's a fantastic time to enjoy yourself, keep in touch with forgotten friends, and wrap up the loose ends of your life. Come January, the gloves come off, and new goals are get set in place. Think about where you want to be a year from now, and write that stuff down, so you're held to it. Sounds a little scary to be held accountable... but that's the point :)

I've been seeing butternut squash recipes alot lately. Like over here, and here, and many more others. And I don't blame you guys, I mean they are tasty, weird looking veggies. Even more interesting is the whole "squash and pasta concept". Whoever came up with that is a genius. While there's nothing wrong with tomato sauce at all (classic) I have to admit it's nice for a change. I had a problem though.

I couldn't really care less about pasta.

Ok... ok.... ok... don't leave!

You don't want to be my friend anymore? Wait I still love tomato sauce! Well, sorry but I just like other starches better. Give me sweet potatoes, or barley, or some rye bread. And I don't feel tired after eating those either. Pasta puts me in a coma after eating. Not exactly a great thing if you still have stuff to do that day.

So I wanted to try that butternut pasta thing... but without the pasta. It's been in the colder 50s here lately... so that equals soup to me.

Butternut Tomato Soup that is.

I don't really have any specific ingredient amounts or anything, so just read along and go with it. Make the soup your own if you want. It's easy as pie. Actually pie can be a pain to make, when the dough is too warm. Soup is super easy. Dump in a pot and heat. Gotta love it :)



Butternut Tomato Soup
Dr. Adam

-1 medium onion, chopped and diced pretty small
-2 ribs celery, diced

-1 tbs olive oil


-1 can diced tomatoes, use the juice too

-1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed

-3 cups chicken stock (or any stock)

-Some wine... I used white cause it was open

-Handfuls of basil and sage

-Salt and Pepper to taste


I chose to keep this really easy. Read and follow the pics.


In a large pot... add the onion, celery, and oil on medium head. Stir frequently until the veggies sweet and soften a bit. Then add the tomatoes and squash, and cook for a few minutes until some of water evaporates. About 5 minutes.

Add the stock, and wine, and cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the squash softens up a bit. If it needs longer, just let it continue to cook until it becomes more mushy.
Add the herbs, and cook again for another 5 minutes, and the kitchen will smell aromatic and great.

Turn off the heat and let cool.
When the soup is cooler, use an immersion blender and blend the soup up to the consistency you want. Leave some chunks if you'd like, or completely puree it if that's what you want. Just be careful and don't let the soup splatter on you :) Add some salt and pepper to taste.


That's it... now you have tasty awesome soup, with a nice orange red color.

Stay tuned for some more recipes this coming holiday season. It gives me an excuse to bake a little more and spring up some sweets on my friends. I think we are doing a cookie exchange soon, and I'm sure I'll have a little pressure to be number one... not that it's a competition or anything :)

Have a great rest of the weekend, and stay warm!

View and Review: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009

While reading recipes online are great, complete with pictures and colored fonts... sometimes nothing beats a good, hardbound book. Something you pick up, place down, accident cover with flour and cocoa smudges... ya know the usual sign of good wear and tear :)

I think its a great idea to give back every once in a while to help out those around you. Donate to a T-giving food drive, join a civic group, help strangers load groceries in there car... whatever makes you feel like you are making a difference. Help raise awareness... that's a BIG one. (That's what she said) :)

And we do exactly that with BloggerAid: Changing the Face of Famine. There are many, many people our there in less than favorable circumstances than ourselves, and it's important to acknowledge this and help out any way that we can. With the concept of View and Review, publishers have agreed to donate their books, so we can read, review, and help raise awareness of world hunger together, it's a pretty cool win-win :).

So what awesome book did I get? Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, published by Thomas Dunne Books.

Now, this book has received quite a bit of hype in the past year or so. I remember hearing about it back when I first started blogging, and I knew there was something special about it. Who doesn't like fresh bread? Nobody. Who has the time to bake bread and wait for raising times all day long? Just about nobody. So the thing I love about this book is that it fixes that. You break the bread preparation up over the course of a few days, with as little as 5 minutes being needed.

The beauty is that the bread dough stays in the fridge and raises on it's own. You can wrestle with your kids, go to work, wash the dog, take a girl out... it's ok, the bread doesn't mind. It stays for up to two weeks in the fridge... and gets better as it slowly ferments everyday! I love this for busy people like ourselves.

When it's time to bake, you take out a portion of the dough, shape it, preheat your oven, let it rest for a little over a half hour, slash it, and bake it. Done. It's so simple a neanderthal could do it. Which means I'll have it done in edible fashion to say the least :)

The book's concept is killer, but what I really enjoy are the recipes (obviously). You have standard favorites like baguettes, to whole wheat and rye peasant loaves (close to my heart, sauerkraut anyone?), to more dessert type breads like brioche and babka and panettone (good for this time of year). So I don't know what more you could want :)

And the step by step instructions are great. The authors focus on teaching you exactly what to do, and trouble shoot when things don't go perfectly as planned. While my first loaves didn't turn out stellar, I'm convinced that with a little practice and trial and error, I'll make it in no time. It's like having a teacher watch over you... without the ruler in her hand and the red pens.

The recipe I went with is the one that you ALL should start with. Its the foundation of a good bread... the almighty Boule loaf. It's ingredients are simple, and everyone will love it.


Almighty Boule
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes about four 1 pound loaves... can be halved and doubled, fyi

-3 cups lukewarm water (like body temp)

-1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast

-1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt

-6 1/2 cups unbleached, AP flour


I'm going to give you my version of the quick directions. If you'd like to know more, you can visit Zoe's Awesome Website, or of course buy the book :)


In a large 5 quart container, add the water, salt and yeast. Stir a little, it doesn't have to dissolve. Add the flour all at once, and stir with a big wooden spoon, until it is all incorporated. You may want to use your hands once it gets started, just to make sure the mixture turns into a dough and stays together. Don't worry if it's not perfect, and don't knead. The dough will be pretty sticky and wet, but that's fine... remember it's going to sit in the fridge for awhile.

Cover it with a lid that's not airtight, and let it rise. I would let it rise overnight...


Relax and go to sleep dreaming of bread :)


When you're ready to bake, grab a piece of dough the size of a grapefruit and cut it off with a flour dusted, sharp knife. With your floured hands, stretch the dough out like a saucer, and fold it out underneath itself, gathering the ends together.

Place this dough on a floured cutting board, or on a cookie sheet if you don't have a baking stone.
Let it rest for 20 minutes... go do something fun.

Preheat your oven to 450* and place the rack on the center or close to the bottom, place your broiler tray or some oven proof vessel on a rack in the top of the oven. If you have a baking stone, place it on that middle rack.
Let the dough rest for another 20 minutes, and it should have risen a little. Don't worry if it didn't too much, it will make up for it in the oven.

Dust and slash your knife, and make a cris cross or line patterns on the top of the loaf.
Even if you oven isn't up to temperature, take the dough and place it on your baking stone with a pizza peel, or place your cookie sheet with rested dough in the oven. Pour one cup of water in the broiler tray/oven proof container and close the door to trap the steam. 30 or so minutes later, you'll have brown crisp crusted dough... TA DA :)



Look at that crust. This is what bread is supposed to be. If you like that WonderStuff... well I don't know what to tell you :) Thanks Jeff and Zoe for showing us that bread can be done right, and done in time :)

While this review has been long overdue, I want to thank Giz and Val for being patient with me, and allowing me the fantastic opportunity to view and re-view this book. I am a better baker because of this, and I had a blast learning something new. I plan on making many of the loaves in this book, and feeding my hungry family, friends, and neighbors. Nothing says friendship like a good loaf of bread :)

Pumpkin Lite

29

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, November 04, 2009

How was everyone's Halloween? From the looks of it, everyone had a great time. I think whether you love Halloween or think it's a totally commercial lame holiday, you have to agree on two things:
  • The decorations are probably the most fun out of any other holiday
  • 30-50% off Halloween candy starting November 1st is pretty sweet
While it's not the most masculine trait I have, my family always instilled guerrilla type shopping skills after holidays. I'm not talking like ducking and rolling around through the aisles, (been there) but more like secret stealth money saving. Nothing says you can't use Halloween stuff like cups and kitchen stuff year round. So what if a spatula is orange? Orange is cool.

So to round out the Orange theme, I have yet another pumpkin recipe... because what are you supposed to do with half a can of pumpkin in the fridge anyways? I guess I COULD eat it out of the can... I do eat just about anything (what can I say, protein powder enables you do eat just about anything taste wise)

So, about a year ago... did I just say that? A year? Wow.

So about a year ago I did an angel food cake recipe. I really dig angel food cake. It has literally no fat, some protein, and... a ton of sugar. Oh well, 2 outta 3 ain't bad. But I like it because angel food cake tastes like nothing else. The texture is soft yet chewy, with this sticky almost tang thing going on. It's like cotton candy in cake form. I dunno it's just a neat thing.

So what if we just add some pumpkin and spices to it? That'll work.

I took the old recipe I just listed above, and added some spices and the rest of the canned pumpkin. It was poured into the pan, flipped, and let to cool. Just keep in mind that because pumpkin is a wet ingredient, you might have to up the baking time a bit. Soggy angelfood cake does not make fun and delicious eats. Its like the equivalent of wearing wet socks all day. Squidgy and weird.

But when it turns out perfect.... it's really awesome :)

So here's the recipe, cut, pasted, and changed :)



Cranberry Orange Angel Food Cake Recipe by Dr. 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 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp cloves
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-Half a small can of pumpkin puree

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, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Continue to mix on medium, until the colors of the batter turn into a orange brown (the spices are mixed in well then). Turn off the machine and fold in the pumpkin with a spatula, being careful not to over mix the batter or get it all over the counter.

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.





I may not be the first cat to think of this cake, but it's my first time eating it. I was happy with the results, and so were some of the girls at the Halloween party. What can I say, I get a couple of points on the scoreboard here and there :P

Happy November, and I hope everyone is staying warm and safe. I'll be out of town this weekend and in Florida for a seminar, but I'll catch up with you when I get back. And speaking of last years recipe, is anyone else excited for cranberries? Fall fruit is great :)

Random thing.... Bon Jovi is on TV right now celebrating 25 years. To be cool and do something you like for 25 years is remarkable. Good for them :)

Pump it Up

26

Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ok... repeat after me.... I have everything under control. Life has been pretty wild the past few weeks on my side of the fence. The parents came up, the house cleaning and settling commenced, work got wicked busy, and I had my mind blown last weekend at a nutrition seminar.

Take your Omega-3s... like a lot of them, everyday. But I won't get into that now :)

Long story short... to any of you that successfully balance work, play, baking, the internet, personal relationships and still smile... my hat goes off to you. You are my hero, complete with a fancy cape and a giant whisk emblem on your chest :) Hopefully I can ride shotgun with you eventually. I bought a daily planner the other day, so I'm on my way...

So I'm going to enter this post with something you've all had probably waaay too many of lately. Pumpkin recipes. You know you love 'em. It makes me wonder though... do markets even sell pumpkin during other times of the year? I think that same Libby can sits on the shelf from March until September or October. Pumpkin pie in spring? While I'd still eat it, it would feel a little weird I guess :)

I wanted to throw together a quick cookie recipe, so I simply shot this from the hip. I took a few of my favorites spices and mixed them together, and as I was doing it, I had an idea.

I've never in my life bought pumpkin pie spice... (does anyone?) or apple pie spice. I've always had those individual spices around the house for savory and baking dishes, so the thought was always a little silly to me. Plus, we always kinda "cloved up" our pumpkin pies, so it's nice having that kind of control.

So here I am, adding in some ginger, and... sure some cinnamon, and some.... *turns head away not paying attention*

Dude, is that garam malasa? That's kinda cinnamon spiced... that'll be either really wild, or wildy terrible :) You only live once... according to non-karma based religions.

And that's my story :)

Warning... Pictures taken hastily at work while being devoured by patients and staff... I apologize for the off color... it's tough taking pics during the day when it's dark when you get up :)



Mixing and Not Paying Attention Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dr. Adam
-1/4 cup butter, melted

-1/2 cup packed brown sugar

-1/2 granulated sugar
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 egg

-3/4 cup canned mashed pumpkin


-1 3/4 cups AP flour
-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp ginger

-1/2 tsp garam masala

-1/4 tsp salt


-2 cups or so chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 350*. Use parchment paper (love this stuff) or grease your sheet pans. In a large bowl, add the sugars and melted butter together. Mix until smooth, and add the egg, vanilla extract, and pumpkin. Continue mixing with a wooden spoons until brown satiny smooth.

In a separate bowl, or just added to the wet bowl... add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and garam masala if using. Gently stir together until no lumps remain and it is combined well. Add in the chocolate chips, and fold in gently.


Spoon by tablespoonfuls onto your cookie sheets, leaving some room for spreading and baking. These spread more upwards than anything. Bake on the center rack for 10 or so minutes, or until they spring back when pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack. Makes about 30 cookies.



So you're thinking... what's it like with that out of the ordinary spice in there? It works. It's possible I could of maybe upped it a little bit more to 1 teaspoon to make it more pronounced... but I dig it. I think it adds a little confusion, a little spark to the same old spice cookie. All I have to do now is add some molasses next time and it'll be guitar hero quality.

Once again, thank everyone so very much for your warm thoughts and compliments on my new home. It's actually really homey now, and I'm taking a little each Sunday off to work on it just a little bit. It might take a full year, but I'll get her up to speed soon enough :)

I'll be around to visit soon, and until then... all my best :)

Pardon the Dust and Mess

39

Posted by Adam | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, October 08, 2009

Alright, so basically I'm in a living limbo of two places. Like a purgatory of place staying. I am in the process of packing and leaving house A... and moving into House B, which is my ACTUAL, name on fancy hundred page paperwork House :) Everyday I fill my car with stuff and take it over after work. It's a slow process, but it's coming along. My parents also filled this crazy thing up, which was nothing short of amazing.

At first I was afraid my house was going to be a white walled, empty, and boring. But now I realize that with some good old family hand-me-downs and a little creativity, the sky's the limit :)

Here's a couple pics... I'll call them before pics... as in before Adam. I don't think anything too drastic is going to happen at first, mostly due to time and $$ (both precious post-grad commodities). But like for instance, I already got a new oven and fridge... the building blocks towards a kitchen and home greatness :)


So, as I humpty dumpty my life back together in the next week or so, bear with me on the lack of food blogging. I kinda need to find my bowls and spoons again first...

Me unpacking...

And unpacking...

And unpacking still...

Now this is just getting ridiculous...

But I'm really enjoying blogging again, and while finding time for it can be difficult, I don't mind staying up late an extra hour and having a good time. I want to thank all my family and friends for their support and insight, and I'm looking very forward to having my parents come on down this weekend from NY to pay me a visit and help out with everything.

I've always been a strong believer in "the harder I work, the luckier I get". Truer (is that a word?) words haven't been spoken lately :)

As always thanks for swinging by the blog, both new and old buddies, and I'll try and post something awesome after the weekend and the dust settles. Good dust settling, that is :)

Key Lime Pie

36

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Saturday, October 03, 2009

I was talking to a couple people at our Harvest Festival these past few days, and came to realize something. There is no place for good coffee or pastries in my town. And by town, I actually mean two towns (about 8 or so miles apart) where our clinics are located. From what I learned, there has been a cafe in the past, but it has long been boarded up and closed. Interesting... Light bulb clicks on in my head*

I mean I can't right now for some obvious *cough house cough* reasons, but it's good to know that maybe in the distant future I could really be onto something here. Hmmm if I save a couple pennies a day I can make it happen. I'd have fresh bread, some sweets, and some awesome coffee. Get a couple of comfy couches, and keep it simple. There's a Starbucks down the road, but it's inside of a Target. Not exactly welcoming with the cash register beeping and kids eating Cheetos in the background, know what I mean?

First thing I have to do is learn how to be a good bread baker. Giz, supreme overseer of BloggerAid View and Review, sent me a copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, so I'll have to give my hand at that real soon, but I'll save that for another post :)

Anyways, onto today. It was a friends birthday last week, and like any good friend (you've been there), I asked what she would like. And the response I received was a very non-September answer, but delicious nonetheless...

Key Lime Pie.

I've never done one of those! What is it? Is it kinda like the famous Lemon Meringue pie? Is it super limey? I had to know these questions... but more importantly, it was a good excuse to try something I wouldn't of done on my own brainstorming power :)

So, like anything else that I'm completely clueless about, I ask somebody. Except in the case of driving directions. So I searched my lists of blogs I follow, and came across this awesome recipe. It is from Cassie, Southern Talented Bakeaholic Extraordinaire, who is a fantastic creator and comedian of How to Eat a Cupcake. I mean the title has the word "Awesome" in it. Now I don't know much, but I know fate when I see it... and this is a recipe asking for me, ladies and gents.

Here it is, with a few small changes by me... because this is how we do it sometimes :)


Key Lime Pie
From How to Eat a Cupcake

1/2 cup lime juice - It's about 3 good size limes, squeezed
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature - I used American cream cheese instead

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Zest of 1 whole lime

5 egg yolks

whipped cream, for garnish (Beat 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 Tbsp confectioners sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract until desired thickness; Do not overbeat or it will turn into butter!)


Crust

1 3/4 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1/3 cup sugar (I'll reduce this to 1/4 cup next time)

1/3 cup pecans

7-8 TBSP melted butter (I only used 5 Tbsp, I think next time I'll reduce it to 4)

In a food processor, blend together graham cracker crumbs, coconut, sugar and pecans. You want to make sure that none of the coconut is visible. Add about 7 TBSP melted butter. Pulse a few times. If it seems like it needs more butter add the remaining TBSP (Mixture should still be crumbly).

Pour contents into a pie pan and press to form a shell. Bake crust for 10 minutes at 400F (I only baked mine for 8 minutes, I'll reduce it to about 6 minutes next time). If you are using mini pie pans, prebaking is not necessary. (After baking my pie crust I let it cool for about 10 minutes before making the filling.)


Whisk sweetened condensed milk with the egg yolks. Whisk in mascarpone cheese. Stir in whipping cream and lime juice. Stir in lime zest. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust and bake at 325° for 15 to 20 minutes. (Filling will still be slightly wobbly; It will firm as it cools.)


So besides using lime juice of the not-key variety, and cream cheese in place of marscapone, I pretty much stuck to the recipe. It was fantastic. Very, very fantastic. It has this sweet tartness going on, and is still very light, which is perfect for dessert after a heavy meal. Like I could actually get up and move afterwards. Would I go workout? No... but at least a nice walk is possible.

Thanks everyone for all the warm house wishes and insight again. Moving is going well, and I should have some appliances moved in real soon. The power is on at least, which is a start :) Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and Happy October :)

Maybe I'll paint the kitchen key lime....

iCake

27

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Sunday, September 27, 2009

Operation Clean Out the Cabinet has begun. You know how these things go, everything that you think is silly to take with you on the big move, has to be used. Extra flour, frozen egg whites, extracts and canned whatevers... the fun stuff.

I actually have been slowing down my spending on baking and cooking things, so I'd run out of the staples just as I need to. This is kind of why I've been a little pedestrian on the baking adventures on my end... well, and the packing/planning is taking a little bit of the time toll too :)

So when times like these arise, I go to simple, old favorites. Things that don't require a recipe book for consulting, or using multiple bowls (I love using one bowl). This coffee cake comes together in about 5 minutes, once you get your fruit peeled and ready. My personal favorite is to use Apples, but we've made this with blueberries, strawberries, plums... whatever the baker or their family enjoys. Strap on your fruit imagination, it's all up to you.

Everyday 5 Minute Crumb Cake
Dr. Adam

-2 cups flour
-1 cup sugar
-1 stick butter, cold and cut into small pieces

-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup milk (or milk alternative)
-1/2 tsp almond extract
-3-4 peeled, sliced apples (or other fruit)

Preheat your oven to 350*. Take a 13x9 pan out and grease it.

In a medium bowl, add the flour and sugar together. Mix well, and add the butter into the dry goods. Using your hands, stir this together so that fine crumbs start to form, kind of like making a pie crust dough. Don't worry too much about getting it perfect, remember this takes 5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of this crumb mix and set aside.

Now to the bowl, add the remaining ingredients except apples. Don't worry about the order or anything, just add them all, and stir well with a wooden spoon. The batter should thin up a bit, and be smooth, even, and be easily pourable.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and layer with apples or fruit of your choice. Don't overcrowd, but go with a single layer. Press the fruit down a little firmly, but don't submerge it into the batter. Top the fruit with the reserved crumb mix evenly, and you're all set.

Bake for 30-40*, or until a toothpick comes out clean. This can be served warm, but I like it room temperature, because it firms up a bit more.




I want to thank everyone for their warm wishes about my new home situation. I am very excited and anxious as you can imagine, and have quite a few things swimming around in my head. This coming weekend starts some of the moving, which will probably commence for about another week or so after that. Then, it's time for some home shopping.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any appliance advice? I'm going to need to go fridge and oven shopping. Any tips on what to really look for? Things to avoid? Let me know, thanks :)

Jammin' With It

24

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Saturday, September 19, 2009

I don't have to explain to any fellow bloggers out there why we bake and cook. You take pictures of food? Why, yes... yes I do. It's just a passion, an excitement that shines through on a rainy Saturday, or on a super rushed weekday. We get excited to see new products show up at the market, or a really sweet deal on produce. I can't even tell you how many times I get pumped to find something cool in the discount bins. I try to stick to a food budget (try being the key word) , so when things like that pop up, I have to take advantage.

I especially like baking for bake sales or an important cause. I have to bake for others, because honestly I'd be packing on adipose tissue by the Tonka dumptruck full if I didn't. So if I can make others have a good day, while helping raise a little money, I'm all for it :)

In a few weeks a good friend of mine is doing a 3 day walk for breast cancer. She has to walk 60 miles in those days, which is remarkable... and on top of that, raise money for the cause and her sponsorship. So, what can I do to help raise money and awareness?

Cookies and cake my friends.... cookies and cake.

I already posted about the Oatmeal Cake... which was such a hit it had to be rationed so everyone could try it. (Pat myself on the back). But, I also made a cookie from Dorie Greenspan that always caught my eye... her Buttery Jam Cookies. If you've read this blog before, you know about my love for jam and fruit. Butter? Well, I'm only human, so go with that one :)

Look at the pics and guess what jam I used. You will never, ever guess in a bazillion years...

I used a little bit of my Northern Heritage on this one. Gooseberry. What's a gooseberry? If you don't know, you're missing out. They are kinda sweet, kinda sour. The only really way to know is to try it. Trust me, you'll dig 'em like Dig 'Em.


Buttery Jam Cookies
Dorie Greenspan, From My Home To Yours

-2 cups AP flour

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp ground ginger

-1/4 tsp salt

-1 stick softened unsalted butter

-2/3 cup sugar

-1 large egg

-2 Tbs milk (I used sour cream)

-1/2 tsp vanilla

-1/4 cup jam (apricot, gooseberry, something chunky)


I'm going to readers digest these instructions, they come together in like 4 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375*. Line two cookie pans with silicone mats or parchment paper.


Cream the butter on medium with a mixer in a large bowl until it is pale and smooth. Add in the sugar, and beat for another minute. Add in the egg, and beat until well combined and satin looking. Proceed to add the milk and vanilla extract, and mix on medium until it just comes together. The batter will look a little curdled and weird, but that's perfectly fine. Accept it :)

Switch the mixer to low, and add the jam of your choice... mix for another minute. Slowly add the dry ingredients (watch out for flour backlash), and mix JUST so the batter comes together. IT will be super thick and a little dry. This is fine. There's not a whole lot of liquid going on in this dough.

Drop the dough by rounded teaspoon fulls on to the prepared mats, and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Note*... you just want them only little brown around the edges. They might still be pale, and they might not look done, but you'll know when you press them lightly. They will be a little firm, and give only a little. If they turn golden brown... it may be too late :)

Cool on a wire rack, and you're done. The recipe says something like 40 cookies... but I always end up with less. Maybe 30ish or so.



The ginger in these bad boys really take the flavor up a level. Next time I'd go with a more traditional jam... but I like using flavors that are a little unique sometime.

Thanks for all the awesome comments on the Oatmeal Cake. I'm glad that so many of your enjoy your breakfast, and are excited to try their dessert for breakfast :)

Housing update: My closing is officially at the end of the month, and I couldn't be more excited. Sure it's hectic. Sure, it's scary giving away most your money for a down payment. But... it's worth it. Totally, totally worth it. I'll be more active on this blog once the dust settles, and after the packing, moving, cleaning, and buying... I'll have my own personal kitchen to work with. Is it ok for guys to get excited over kitchens? I think so. And if not, well I'll arm wrestle you over it. Have a good rest of the weekend buds :)

Cake For Breakfast

26

Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Sunday, September 13, 2009

Breakfast is easily my favorite meal of the day. I find it increasingly difficult to go to a cute diner, have a cup of coffee, a veggie filled omelet, and some toast or potatoes, and not enjoy yourself. That's a smile on a plate, seriously. For those of you that don't like breakfast, or don't have time for it, that's too bad. I think you're missing out :)

Which bring me up to this new recipe. As a kid I ALWAYS had breakfast, and most days it was sugared up oatmeal, or these corn toasties. I know, no protein, right? Man, times change!

And sometimes, when you oversleep, you grab cake for breakfast. Yup, cake. Actually, thinking back, I don't know why I didn't sleep in more. It's like a reward for being late. Oh, you messed up? Well here's a prize for you on your way out the door :)

Now, we all know that cake is not a good breakfast choice, and don't need any specialized schooling to understand why. Lack of nutrients, blood sugar, and so on and so on. However, if you are going to eat a cake for breaking your night fast, it might as well have a little fiber...

And as for frosting in the morning? Well, um I don't have an answer for that one. Let's just say everyone should start the day off in a good mood...

Oatmeal Cake
Dr. Adam

-1 cup boiling water

-1 cup dry, quick small oats
-1 cup packed brown sugar

-1 stick unsalted butter, softened

-2 eggs

-1 tsp vanilla

-1 1/2 cups flour

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp cinnamon

-Dash or two of nutmeg and salt

-1/4 cup unsalted butter

-1/2 cup sugar

-3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

Place the dry oatmeal in a bowl with boiling water, and let it sit until it is all absorbed and thick, about 20-30 minutes. Let it cool down a bit.

Preheat your oven to 350*. Take out a large 13x9 pan, and grease the bottom and sides with the butter wrapper you took off your butter.

In a large bowl, cream the stick of butter and brown sugar together, until pale brown, and then add the eggs and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Add in the cooled oatmeal, and you'll have a semi loose brown sugar oatmeal.


Now you can mix the dry ingredients together and add them, or just dump them all in one at a time. The less dirty bowls the better, so just add them in one at a time... flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix well, until you have a thin batter. Don't worry if it's not as thick as you'd like, that's perfectly fine.


Spread the batter out into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes.
While it's cooling, change the oven to broil, and prepare the frosting.

In a small saucepan, add the butter and melt it on medium-low. Add the sugar and stir constantly so it doesn't burn, and then add the coconut. If the mixture is a little thick, add a tablespoon of milk if needed.
Top the cake with the coconut frosting, and smooth it over. Place in the oven, and broil until the topping comes out golden brown, taking care not to burn it. Remove and cool.

Yup, as you know from my past oatmeal recipes, this cake is awesome. I've always been a sheet cake man, and this combines a ton of my favorite flavors, and is nice for a September fling, if I may say so. Totally recommended once the weather cools down a bit.

Sorry I haven't been around too often. I had a wonderful wedding last weekend (not mine), and it was awesome to see old friends. You know you have some real good ones if you can pick up excatly where you left off a year ago. This housing thing is JUST about finished, and soon after, I'll have the task of moving and settling in. So basically, I'll start to have free time by Halloween... haha :) Speaking of Halloween, any good costume ideas? I need to put my thinking cap on for this one! Enjoy your football weekend, and we'll catch up soon :)