“I think the most significant work we ever do, in the whole world, in our whole life, is done within the four walls of our own home.” – Stephen R. Covey

Friday, December 25, 2009

5 Days of Cookies: Day 4 & 5

Here are two of my favorite cookie recipes. An old classic and a holiday family favorite!


Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ingredients

* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts (filberts) (optional)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda. Beat mixture until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in chocolate pieces and, if desired, nuts.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies.

Make-Ahead Tip: Bake and cool cookies completely. In an airtight or freezer container, arrange cookies in a single layer; cover with a sheet of waxed paper. Repeat layers, leaving enough air space to close container easily. Seal, label, and freeze up to 1 month.


Aunt Janie's Spice Drop Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut
1 cup spicedrops, cut in small pieces.

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Beat well.
Sift dry ingredients.
Add to creamed mixture.
Add remaining ingredients.
Stir together.
Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet.
Bale at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Makes ~ 4 dozen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

5 Days of Cookies: Day 3 - Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

* 2/3 cup butter, softened
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* Powdered Sugar Icing (optional)
* Decorative sprinkles and/or small candies (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill about 30 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4 inch thick. Using a 4-1/2- to 6-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack; cool.

4. If desired, prepare Powdered Sugar Icing. Spread and/or pipe the icing (if using) onto cookies. If desired, top iced cookies with sprinkles and/or candies. Makes 14 to 16 cookies.

5. Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl, combine 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches spreading consistency. If desired, tint with paste food coloring.

6. Candy Windowpane Cutouts: Prepare as directed, except roll dough until 1/8 inch thick and use a 2-1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut dough into desired shapes. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Cut small shapes out of the cutouts' centers. Finely crush 3 ounces hard candy (about 1/2 cup). Fill each center cutout with candy. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes; cool cookies on foil. Makes about 36 cookies.

7. Sugar Cookie Pizza: Prepare dough as directed. Spread into an ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until edge is firm but not brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Frost with homemade or canned cream cheese frosting and decorate with candy-coated milk chocolate pieces or other small candies. Use a pizza cutter to cut cookie into wedges. Makes 16 cookie wedges.

(Thanks Better Homes and Gardens !)

Monday, December 21, 2009

5 Days of Cookies: Day 2 - Maple Cookies

Maple Cookie Recipe




Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 TSP MAPLE FLAVORING
1 large egg
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (Grade B preferably)
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts
Method
1 Cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed for three minutes or until light and fluffy.
2 Add the vanilla extract (AND MAPLE EXTRACT) and egg and mix until well incorporated. Add the maple syrup and mix until well incorporated.
3 In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the walnuts. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for thirty minutes.
4 Preheat the oven to 350F. Drop spoonfuls of the cookie, about 1 inch balls, onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 3 dozen.

Cookie Interruption: Delicious Dinner Post

We are interrupting the cookie marathon with a recipe from dinner last night!

Now I am going to post the true recipe (Thanks Food and Wine - but I drank beer with this!) and insert my own variations to "keep it real".


On the chalkboard menu we have:

Braised Chicken Legs with Green Olives

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 whole chicken legs (3/4 pound each) - MINE, 2.25LB PKG BONELESS SKINLESS THIGHS
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces thickly sliced lean bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice - MINE, NOT SO LEAN
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 small turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces - MINE, A LITTLE LARGER CHUNKS
1 cup pitted green olives, preferably Picholine - MINE,CHEAP AND WITH PIMENTOS
2 large thyme sprigs - MINE,GENEROUS SPRINKLE OF DRIED
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large cast-iron casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper (DRY WELL OR IT WILL POP AND BURN YOU LIKE HELL). Add 3 of the legs to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and brown the remaining 3 legs over moderate heat.

2. Pour off the fat in the casserole (USE BIG STRONG MAN FOR HELP WITH HEAVY PAN FILLED WITH HOT OIL). Add the bacon, onion, carrots and turnips and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until barely softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the olives, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and stock. Nestle (IE: SHOVE) the chicken legs in the casserole so they are partially submerged and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are tender. (FINISH YOUR BEER/WINE DURING THIS TIME AND FIND SOME FANCY RICE TO COOK - MINE WAS RICE'A'RONI)

3. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter; cover and keep warm. Strain the broth into a large measuring cup and skim off as much fat as possible. Return the broth to the casserole and boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and vegetables to the casserole, cover and cook for 5 minutes to heat through, then serve.

Also good to know: relatively cheap, new appreciation for turnips, makes the house smell good and makes the strong man feel useful.

ENJOY!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

5 Days of Cookies: Day 1 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti

I will be posting a new cookie recipe every day until Christmas!

Today's delicious cookie is Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti!



Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups dry roasted peanuts
1 1/4 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chunks (about 6 ounces)

Directions

Position racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Continue to cook until the butter browns and gets a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar while beating. Then slowly add the butter and vanilla until evenly mixed, about 30 seconds more. Add the peanut butter and mix until combined.
While mixing slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet, in 2 additions, mixing just until absorbed. Fold in the peanuts and chocolate pieces.
Divide the dough evenly into thirds, and put each portion in the center of a baking sheet. Shape the dough with slightly wet hands into logs about 2-inches wide and 15 inches long. Bake until set and brown around the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. (For even baking take care to rotate the pans-- top to bottom and front to back--about half way though.) Cool logs on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board. Cut logs crosswise, with a long serrated knife at about a 45 degree angle, into 1/2-inch thick cookies. Place cookies cut side down on the baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Flip the cookies over and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes more. Cool biscotti on the baking sheets. Serve.
Store cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

Thanks Food Network, they were delicious (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/peanut-butter-and-chocolate-biscotti-recipe/index.html)!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Football Weekend

So it was a bad weekend to be a Red Raider or a Dallas Cowboy! Not a bad weekend to be an OSU Cowboy or a Green Bay Packer. Needless to say the two previous teams lost but anyway... we had a fun time tailgating and playing games before the actual game began!

The guys playing ladder-ball:


Chad and two of his friends Rod and Norm:


Me and the boys, somethings never change!


My sister-in-law, Aubree and I!


One of my best friends, Stacie and I!


Most of the Felderhoff Family!


Everyone have a great week! I am hosting Thanksgiving this year so I plan on posting some recipe ideas soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall



The leaves are turning, Red Raiders are hitting their mid-season stride, the flower beds have been filled with pansies and most importantly its Halloween. We had an interesting Halloween at the neighbors. More about that another day. They say pictures are worth a thousand words need I say more.

Captain Jack Sparrow

"SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND"

Wreck'em Te....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wild Hog meet Grill and Italian Seasoning

Front Flower Bed-Check

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Project Report

Seeing as it is Chad & Elizabeth I figured it was time for me to step in and post something. I don't do a whole lot of cooking so there wont be any juicy photos of the wonderful dishes that my lovely wife makes. I can tell you that she is feeding me well and I need to be more religious about my running schedule. So back to the topic at hand. I had a couple of projects on the list today and a couple to report on. This is what the list looked like:
-Peephole (on the front door)
-Ceiling Fan
-Garden
-Garage
-Front Flower Beds

I really only have the first 3 to report on. More on the other three when I get to them. Crap now its in stone and Elizabeth is going to hold my feet to the fire on the flower beds.
Garden- Well this one didn't get off to a great start this summer, but we are finishing off strong. We made one batch of our award winning salsa, and are awaiting the second batch of tomatoes to be ripe. I think were going to try and can the next batch. I know it sounds like my grandmother talking, but it works and this salsa could win the fair next year. Needless to say here are a couple of pics from the garden. We did have squash plants that got flattened by an Armageddon of some sort. I have been really impressed by our jalapeno plant. It is huge as I say a "fair winner".


The okra is doing very well but its going to be a little late in the year for it. After it came up it never got hot enough to really grow good. That's why I bought the farmers almanac for this year we should be good to go now.

Here is a close up of my jalapeno plant. They look so innocent, looks can be so deceiving. I think its because we purchased a Texas plant. You know everything is bigger in Texas. Hopefully the freeze this weekend doesn't kill them. moving on......

Peep Hole- No pictures to post here just a little note that if you buy a peep hole from Lowes and it says 1/2" hole it really means 7/16". I found out one washer later.

Ceiling Fan- Going with the trend of the day the ceiling fan in the guest room was not so easy. I would put it at 4 out of 5 on a difficultly level. Not trying to give my self to much credit but about the only thing I didn't have to do was build the room around the fan. Installing a fan is usually pretty easy just time consuming. This one although was cantankerous from the beginning. The biggest problem being no solid foundation to mount the fan. Instead of having the fan chop up our next guests and get the bedspread bloody I decided I better reinforce the mount. This is where it gets complicated. I had to cross the attic being careful not to put my foot through the ceiling. Let me tell you that's a feat all in itself. God doesn't put size 14's on ballerinas for a reason.
I found the mount in the ceiling and then placed a board that I cut between the two joists. You can see the board in the first picture. I had to screw it to the joists so the weight wouldn't be on the sheet rock. Sounds easy but to do hunched over balancing on a 1 1/2" board increases the difficulty. Alas the finished product turned out well. Now our guest will be able to enjoy the soothing breeze of our fan.

All of these photos are courtesy of our new Nikon D3000 DSLR. It got a lot of use at the Philbrook museum this weekend. I'm sure Elizabeth will be sharing some of those photos shortly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Biggest Loser, grr...

Dear Biggest Loser,

You are making me lazy! How can this be, you ask? Your ridiculously drama filled episodes (that totally sucker me in!) are 2 HOURS LONG! Most MOVIES aren't even 2 hours! I guarantee you that Bob and Jillian don't recommend watching 2 hours of TV in one sitting, especially since we know people tend to mindlessly eat while watching TV. Don't get me wrong, I love that show and I HAVE to watch it to the end to find out how much they lost and who goes home but seriously... you could mush that show into 1 hour!

End Rant,
Elizabeth

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I guess Fall is here, whatever...

I'll be honest, I seriously love Spring and Summer better. Spring is wonderful because you are just so dang tired of the cold weather that any kind of sun that actually warms you is a great thing. I love Summer because of the fun vacationing that occurs and general laziness the weather brings. I also get super excited to go to the farmers markets and find all kinds of great new treats. Fall is definitely upon us here in Green Country (local term for NE Oklahoma).

Below is a shot of my bounty got from the Cherry Street farmers market last weekend:



Aren't these flowers beautiful. Only $5 for the bunch. I wish I would have known they were only going to last about 24 hours though! I don't know what the weird fushia flower is but I know the other ones are zinnas. I'll have to plant some next summer!


Oh, if you live in the Tulsa area you MUST visit this winery out on the west side of town. We visited Whispering Vines winery back in June and got the exclusive tour from the owners. ...probably because we were the only ones there. Anyway, we ended up buying a mixed half case (6 bottles) and my favorite so far is below. It is there Cherry wine and it is delicious. You can actually taste some pumpkin pie flavors too. You know the full bodied tart flavor you get from drinking straight pomegranate juice? Yea, imagine the cherry version of that. Very delicious and tart!


Oh, also last weekend Whole Foods was having a great deal on their Salmon burgers. Basically you buy the burgers and you get all the sides for FREE.

For all of this our total came out to UNDER $20! Because the salmon is so low in fat the burger doesn't really shrink any it made a huge sandwich. I could basically only eat half of it for lunch.

Anyway, Fall is here and it has gotten cooler and this is what I made for dinner the other night:

Spinach Sausage Cheese Quiche


So gooey cheesy good and perfect for a cooler evening!
Recipe:
10 oz fresh spinach
1 lb ground breakfast sausage
2/3 C Parmesan cheese (freshly grated if available)
9 eggs
2 flour tortillas
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 chopped onion

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brown sausage in large skillet. Set aside and drain most grease.
3. Toss in spinach and toss until wilted
4. Remove spinach and add onions, cook until sweated. Add back in the sausage and spinach.
5. Mix together eggs, cheese and garlic powder in large bowl.
6. Add sausage mixture to egg mixture and thoroughly combine.
7. Coat bottom of pie plate with butter or PAM. Layer tortillas on pie plate to cover bottom but create a crust on the edge.
8. Pour in egg/sausage mixture and cook 1 hour. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.


Daisy, our Westie, got her first grooming last week and she turned out so cute! It made her look a little smaller since they cut a lot of her fluff off but she looks like a real West Highland Terrier now! The place is here local in Broken Arrow and called Hairy Beast Grooming. The name cracks me up. Anyway, here are some updated pictures of her:




Anyway, the last big thing I have been working on is educating myself about updating some things around the house and in the yard and making a big purchase. See if you can figure out what I am talking about by this picture of my library books. (Shut up, I LOVE the Library.)

Yep, I'm working on decorating the house and being patient with finding the right things. I've had to learn that I can't do it all overnight or even in a few weeks. It takes time to find things that mean something to you and aren't just randomly pulled off the shelf at some big box store. Also we are working on trying to figure out what our next gardening steps are going to be. We want to do the right things now to ensure that we have a good landscape plan in the spring. Just imaging lots of graph paper and map pencils!

Lastly we are planning on purchasing a dSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. We are super excited about it and will be getting the newly released Nikon D3000. We also want to get the 55-200mm lens but right now I am waiting for Nikon to put them together in a package deal. Hopefully that won't be much longer!

Well this turned into a rather long post but I'm trying to get better at posting more often and this is what turned out!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Labor" Day

Labor Day activities

Today was full of very rigorous activities(insert sarcastic tone)! Actually this morning I did finish up some freelance work I've been doing for a client. It was nice to get it done and out the door! Chad did a wonderful job cleaning the vehicles and getting them all spiffed up from a summer of trekking cross country. I actually AM scared to add all those miles up! The wonderful thing is that on our last trip my (TEN YEAR OLD!) car got a whopping 31 MILES PER GALLON! No, that is not a misprint!

Anyway, I rented Frost/Nixon and we finally got around to watching it this afternoon. I love historical/biography/historical fiction type movies/novels and this did not disappoint. I usually consult Wikipedia to get a brief rundown before hand but I didn't this time. It was still great and I would totally recommend it if you liked movies such as Charlie Wilson's War.


After that we headed to the driving range to hit a few balls. Chad, of course, blew me out of the water! I needed a few pointers at the beginning but I started to get the hang of it once my form got better. First I started swinging the club like it was a baseball bat then I had my right arm cocked out like a chicken wing! Not the best way to accurately hit the ball! Once I got that all straightened out I hit a few balls over 100 yards!


We're finishing off the night with a cool cocktail! I bought a mango the other day and waited for it to ripen. Cutting those things is ridiculous - Imagine an avocado but 5 times harder! Anyway I made a mango-orange smoothie with vanilla rum. Below is the recipe!

Mango-Orange Rum Smoothie
1/2 C fresh mango, cubed
1/2 C orange juice
1/2 C crushed ice
honey
2 oz. vanilla rum

Blend mango and orange juice until smooth. Add rum and honey to taste, blend. Add ice and blend on high until smooth. Serve in martini glassed with sugar lined rim.

I hope you enjoyed your day off as much as I enjoyed mine!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hungry Thursday

Here are a few of the delicious delights I've been cooking up lately:

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sauce and Mango Salsa

* 20 medium prawns, peeled and deveined
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 4 corn tortillas
* oil for frying
* shredded lettuce
* diced tomatoes
* sliced avocado
* cilantro lime sour cream (recipe follows)

1. In a bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper (if using). Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry.
2. Cook shrimp in a skillet on medium heat until pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
3. Use enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of a small pan, about 2 tablespoons. Heat over medium-high heat. Cook tortillas one at a time until soft, about 30 seconds on each side. Fold over to make a taco shell. As you cook each tortilla, place them on paper towels to absorb any of the oil left over.
4. Spoon 5 shrimp into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado and cilantro-lime sour cream.
5. Serve.

Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

You will need:

* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin
* juice and zest from one lime
* salt to taste

1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.

(Recipe from www.lifesambrosia.com)

... I also made this Mango salsa as another garnishing option:

Ingredients

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 1/2 cup) (See: How to Cut a Mango)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 JalapeƱo chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for a hotter taste if desired)
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Also good with diced red bell pepper and jicama.
Method

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot or acidic for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.
(Recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com)


PLUM GALLETE
Plum Gallete

(This was SO good and I actually ate it for breakfast!)
Ingredients:
Serves 6

* FOR THE CRUST
* 1 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
* 1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* FOR THE FILLING
* 1 1/2 pounds red plums, quartered, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 large egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
Directions
1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt several times to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. (If needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Do not overmix.
2. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; knead once or twice. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Flour a large (about 16 inches long) piece of parchment paper. Place dough on paper. Using your knuckles, press edges of dough so it doesn't crack during rolling. Lightly flour top of dough to prevent sticking; roll out to a 14-inch round. Transfer dough (still on parchment) to prepared baking sheet.
4. Make the filling and bake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together plums, sugar, and flour. Mound plum mixture in center of prepared crust, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold border over fruit in a pleated pattern. Brush dough with egg wash.
5. Bake tart until crust is brown and filling is bubbling (see note), about 45 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a rack; let cool 20 minutes. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
(Recipe from Everyday Food)


HAPPY COOKING!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer in Ok...

Wow, I really didn't mean for it to be almost 2 months before I blogged again! Needless to say though... we have been ridiculously busy this summer!

The weekend of June 20th we drove cross country to Omaha to attend the wedding of our friends Adam and Natalie. Their wedding was held in the beautiful St. John's Chapel on Creighton University campus. I LOVE old traditional churches!



The reception was held in large beautiful foyer of the Durham Museum
It was great to hang out with our friends that we hadn't seen in several months.

The Girls


The next Friday we decided to explore Tulsa's minor league baseball scene, The DRILLERS!

It was very hot but luckily we found a breeze, hot dogs and the beer stand! I don't know if they are a very winning team but they lost when we were there! :(

The next weekend was July 4th and we headed down to Dallas for Chad's brother's fiancee's wedding shower (got that?!). It was great to spend some time with the family and celebrate! We also did the traditional grill out and watch fireworks thing... that's what Independence Day is for right, blowing fireworks all night long!

The next weekend Chad's parents came in town which was nice. We didn't really have anything planned which was nice so we could just relax! Of course we did find many yummy places to eat such as Hideaway Pizza and Copeland's New Orleans restaurant! Know this: whether I cook or we eat out, you will eat GREAT at the Felderhoff's!




Mitch and Aubree (the soon to be wedded couple) came in town the next Friday to attend a financial seminar that weekend. Those plans fell through so we just made the most of the weekend and cooked out. The Porter Peach Festival was that weekend so we headed east to get our fill of the bounty. Yes, this was your idyllic festival with a Peach Queen and local cookbook fundraiser! We got to the fair and although the food vendors had plenty of peach products there were no actual bushels of peaches! Crazy I know! Apparently you have to get there early on Saturday to buy the peaches. Then they save several bushels back and auction them off for the city. Local small town politicians pay a premium to show how much they love their community... I just wanted to buy some PEACHES! Anyway, we found out we could head down the road to the orchard and get them straight from the truck. Sounded easy... nope, there was a line of 50+ people! I was patient and finally we left with our goodies and boy were they delicious!!

Again, we did a lot of traveling this summer as we headed back to the Dallas area for Chad's cousin's wedding. It was of course beautiful and a lot of fun. Lemme tell you, these full-blooded, small-town German people know how to put on a party! It's not unusual for a reception to last from 3p to midnight! Drinks, snacks, dinner, more drinks, cake and more drinks makes for a festive night!

On our way home that Sunday we had a very exciting event... we picked up our new puppy DAISY!

She is a West Highland White Terrier and adorable. We have really been trying to work with her on potty training and obedience... I think it is getting better as she gets older!

Last weekend we headed back to DFW for bachelor/bachelorette party. I would post fun pictures but I really don't think they are appropriate for public viewing! We had a great time staying at Hotel ZaZa (gorgeous) and hitting the town! It was so much fun and I am really glad that Aubree is joining our family!

That's about it for now, just glad that this weekend isn't packed with stuff to do!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Savor

Here is a post light on reading and heavy on drooling... this is what we have been savoring this week complete with pictures and recipes!

Grilled Flank Steak, Portabellos and Green Bean Salad




Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/4 pound flank steak, trimmed of all visible fat
4 large portobello mushroom caps (about 3/4 to 1 pound), wiped clean with a paper towel
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach leaves (5 cups baby spinach, lightly packed)
4 vine-ripened tomatoes (1 pound), each sliced into 8 wedges
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Make marinade:
Directions
Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, orange juice, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, chili flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk. Place steak and mushrooms in a glass baking dish or sealable plastic bag and pour marinade on top. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 or up to 4 hours.

Make dressing:
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, water, mustard, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Whisk until incorporated.

Place green beans in a steamer basket over a few inches of boiling water and steam until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Allow to cool in the refrigerator, or to cool quickly, drain and plunge in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Spray a grill or grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Remove steak and mushrooms from marinade, and discard marinade. Grill steak until medium-rare and mushrooms until cooked through but still juicy, about 4 to 5 minutes per side for both steak and mushrooms. Remove to a cutting board and let rest about 10 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into 1/4-inch slices; cut mushrooms into 1/4-inch slices.
To assemble salad, toss steak slices, mushroom slices, spinach leaves, tomatoes, green beans and onions with dressing. Divide among 4 plates.

Mediterranean Salmon Salad




Ingredients
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
2 cups torn spinach
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Preparation
1. Preheat broiler.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
3. Sprinkle salmon evenly with salt, oregano, and black pepper. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes; break into bite-sized pieces with 2 forks.
4. Combine pasta, salmon, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; toss well.

(Can you tell we like fresh spinach salads?!)

Cheddar Biscuits



Ingredients
1 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C cold butter
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 C milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix flour, baking powder, cream of tarter, sugar and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheddar cheese. Add milk, stir until mixture forms soft dough.

Place on a lightly floured surface; knead 8 to 10 times or until smooth. Pat out dough into a 6-inch square. Cut into 9 squares. Place on a greased baking sheet

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 9 servings

Make one of these recipes this weekend and ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Musical and Celebrations

So since moving to Tulsa I have really been trying to get to know this city and find the fun things to do and great places to eat. Randomly one night we decided to buy tickets from the Tulsa PAC for "Ten Tenors" which is an Australian group of singing men. They were SO good. ... not bad to look at either!



In mid-May Chad and I headed south to College Station, Tx for my brothers college graduation from Texas A&M and his commissioning in the the United States Army. Luckily we were able to stop off in Georgetown for a night to visit our friends Mary and Kevin and their new baby girl Claire. She is adorable and I was so glad we got to visit. We were all in each others weddings back in the day and I love getting the chance to get caught up with each others lives!

Chad and I being Red Raiders have to make sure that we only allow our snide comments against A&M outside of the earshot of my brother. It is not a friendly rivalry... Anyway, here are the pics of my brother looking all grown up and official in his uniform.

Aunt Janie, Dad, Mom, Matthew, Me, Chad, Grandma



Getting his stripes pinned on by Mom and Dad


Commissioned

Next up was my 25th birthday on the 21st of May and our 2nd Anniversary on the 26th of May(got that?)! For dinner we went to this great little restaurant in the Brookside district called Sonoma Bistro and Wine Bar. It is a amazing. I loved just sitting on the patio drinking my pinot noir and enjoying the people watching. For our anniversary we went to Whole Foods and got all the ingredients for a delicious picnic and headed to Woodward Park and the Tulsa Rose Garden. It was a beautiful night and perfect! The roses were beautiful and I think we'll head back there later in the summer when Chad's parents come into town.



Last weekend we headed to the Tulsa PAC again to see the musical The Drowsy Chaperone. It was hilarious and we had a great view of the show. The musical was about an agoraphobic man who lives by himself and obsesses over the Broadway show The Drowsy Chaperone. As he plays the record (LP) of the musical pieces of the show, the performance begins with the music. The show itself is pretty simplistic and about a couple who is getting married. Unfortunately the brides chaperone is a drunk and she ends up seeing her husband to be on their wedding day and all sorts of craziness ensues. If you love all the old-timey musicals this show is for you. It references The King and I which is one of my all time favs!


Up next... fabulous recipes and photos of the results!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Busy, busy bees!

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost two month since I blogged... I guess that shows how dang busy we have been!

At the end of April we decided to check out the local farmers markets. Spending a Saturday morning wandering around the booths of local vendors is my FAVORITE thing to do. I love all the tomatoes, greens, breads, honey, meats, eggs, CHEESES (sigh), salsa and of course a million different herbs. I love this probably because I have the far off dream of eating totally fresh and "whole".



We also attended the Jenks Herb Festival which was great. I was expecting a mini-farmers market but this was a full out Fair! To me... if you have funnel cakes and corny dogs then it's a fair and I LOVE the fair (however my allegiance will always be with this one).

In early May we headed down to Texas to visit with Chad's parents and be there when his Mom got back from her retreat this weekend. The ACTS retreat has really been sweeping the Catholic community and I could not be more excited. In the last year and a half I have lived in 3 different states and attended countless Catholic parishes trying to find the right one for us and I think this retreat gives an amazing renewal for all who attend. I have not been yet but I did attend a similar college oriented retreat while at Texas Tech (I apologize for the horribly designed website).

I have also started to get into the obsession called "couponing". What I understand so far is that the idea is basically matching up store sales and promotions up with the coupons you have clipped in order to get the cheapest price for whatever you need to buy. The key is stocking up on things so you will have it when you need it because it may not be on sale when you need it. There is even a woman here in town that is making a living teaching others her money saving secrets, and I commend that! I have gone to a class she teaches and I plan on going to one she is teaching about saving at Whole Foods. I think this is especially timely right now when a lot of families are now trying to live on one income or are trying to prepare in case they do have to live on one income. Everyone likes to save money and for me it is more about getting a good deal so I don't feel extravagant by buying my specialty coffee, spices etc.



In early May we closed on our house! I spent the entire morning before trying to get the sellers real estate agent to make sure the house was in good condition for our closing. There was still nasty q-tips and broken deodorant etc. in one of the bathroom drawers, the floors needed a good sweeping, the garage still had a couch and washer and dryer inside and the backyard had a pile of rotting wood. I was NOT buying a house where this crap was my responsibility to get rid of. Luckily about 4 hours before closing someone showed up the clean up and haul everything away and I breathed a long sigh of relief. I suppose that is what happens when the owner is out of state and has to do everything from long distance! We have since moved in and have all of the essential boxes unpacked. The remaining boxes are being sorted through slowly as they are actually a lot of crap that just needs to be either donated or organized and stored in the attic. For some reason my husband has the need to save about 40 legal pads of his notes from random classes in college. The worst part is that all the pads only have about the first 20 pages written on and the rest is blank! The neat organized freak in me wants to rip out all the written on pages and put them in a 3-ring binder and then we can use the blank pages.

Anyway, this is getting pretty long so I'll just leave it at this for now. Coming up later... the Felderhoff's explore the Tulsa night life!

Monday, April 13, 2009

When I play "my make-believe future"

... I live in a house like one of these...

All of these homes are located in the historic Swiss Avenue district of Dallas. I drove by several of them today on my way to meet my aunt for lunch and was in awe of their beauty! My husband and I just bought a house (near Tulsa where we live)and I love it, it's great and it fits our lifestyle right now but... eventually I would love to live in an old house or build in a classic design.

I usually tend to go for Craftsmen style or Tudor.
Since I am pretty sure the husband wants to live on some acreage one day, it'll probably have to be a craftsmen style. A huge brick Tudor would look silly on 300 acres in middle of the prarie!
















Photos from www.ArchitecturallySignificantHomes.com website.