Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dinner Guests

This is what I made for our dinner guests.  

Parmesan Chicken Stuffed Shells

Caprese Garlic Bread

Banana Toffee No Bake Cheesecake

I didn't give this time to set up properly.  We still at it, but it was more of a pudding.  :(  I think I've gotten too much confidence in "pushing" times, and this has caused some big mistakes.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake
(This was for lunch)  I didn't think this recipe was going to have a lot of flavor when I made it.  It was light and had good flavor.

Monday, July 29, 2013

First Time Making Granola

Lunch today....(and some yummy leftovers)
Spicy Sausage Pasta

For a special friend....
Cocoa Almond Granola

I loved how the granola smelled while baking.  I have a friend who has done a lot of favors for me recently, so I made her granola.

Interesting article....God is not a Power Bar

Rice Crispy Treats Grow Up

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats
Big, Fat, Soft Almond Cookies

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lessons from the Camp Kitchen

This past week I was assistant cook at a Christian Camp.  I learned a lot.  I worked under a woman who had ran the kitchen for the past six years.  

1.  I enjoyed producing food for a lot of people.
2.  I liked the routine things we did for each meal.
3.  An organized kitchen does increase your productivity.
4.  You can be assertive in leading people, and not be a nag.
5.  I loved seeing the smiles on campers faces coming through the line.
6.  There are many things I could do to carry over items into second and third meals, if I think more intentionally.

I have a lot to work on with the details of perfecting my craft.  I do plan on going back to work as cook next summer, at least for one week, but I'd love to do two weeks.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Last Post until the Weekend!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

I'm off to cook in the kitchen at camp this week!  I'll post more this weekend.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chef's Whim

On menus at nice restaurants they normally have a portion that says "Chef's Whim."  Today, my two Chef's Whim choices come from ingredients that I have on hand.  

White Chocolate Gingerbread Oreo Cookies

Chocolate Mint Poke Cake

In the book I'm reading, "A Place at the Table," here are a few quotes that struck me...

"What I am saying is that it may not be the best thing to be getting so much so often without having to put forth much of our own effort.  We start to complain about wait times, service failures, and mechanical malfunctions that disrupt our continual input flow of "I get what I want when I want it."  But growing accustomed to convenience isn't all that entitlement is about.  It's also about believing it is our right to have "it" for whatever reason."

"When is the last time you abandoned the need to produce something to be measured by the standards of this world?"

"It is like Pharaoh is implanted in our ears, calling out with demands to produce at all costs."

Friday, July 19, 2013

Different Spin on Two Dishes...

I blinked and yesterday got away from me before I was able to post!  I made these items on Wednesday.  We are in the city now with one of the groups who has done a project.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Classic Cake Tutorial

I started watching Classic Cakes on America's Test Kitchen.  The biggest problem I've noticed is that I want to have speed, which costs me quality in the end.

I need to...

1.  make sure I cut the dome part off of my cakes.
2.  allow them to cool completely.
3.  make sure that I brush the crumbs off my cake to have the frosting look cleaner.
4.  invest in a few tools that would make it easier to decorate.  (DONE: Thanks Amazon!)
5.  line the outside of the cake with parchment paper, so the edge of the cake stand stays clean.
6.  there are many ways to decorate the cake without elaborate frosting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I bit the bullet and finally registered for the online classes with America's Test Kitchen Cooking School!  I am excited to learn some new techniques from talented cooks!

Peach Cobbler Coffee Cake

Peanut Butter Lava Cookies

Monday, July 15, 2013

Start Experiment Day 1

I read Jon Acuff's Start book, and was excited that he offered "The Start Experiment."

We are in subgroups and have been paired with a partner as well.  My goals focus on cooking, and getting back into the swing of memorizing Romans 1, 8, and 12.

My recipe this morning was Strawberry-Maripan Muffins.  They were a FAIL.  Sometimes HH says that I make so many rich things, my tastes are off when something is lightly sweetened.  Not here.  They tasted more like doughy bread.  :(  I'll try again later with something else.

From the book that I'm reading, "A Place at the Table," here are a few quotes I wanted to share:

"We live surrounded by a wealth that defies the imagination of our poorer brothers and sisters, yet we live with the fear that we will never have enough."

"Are you tired?  Frustrated by failures or meaningless tasks?  You might think it is because you are doing too much, but what if it is because you are busy doing all the wrong things?

Last night for the group I prepared:

Raspberry-Almond Bars

Twix Cheesecake Bars

Who Pranked Who?

Our church is a very fun and lighthearted congregation.  Last night we get a strong knock on our window at 9:30.  HH can't see who is out there.  He tells me to go to the back bedroom, and het gets his Smith and Wesson 44 out.  He goes outside to look around.  Turns out it is five young adults from our church!  We had such a good laugh over that.  Now they know if you come to the parsonage after dark, he will answer with a gun if he can't see you.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Getting My Hands Dirty

We are in full swing with another mission team from Tennessee.  I've been cooking up a storm so they have some sweet treats.

On Friday night, one of the kids comes running in to tell me that my husband was stuck in the dumpster.  When I walked outside, yes, he was upside down in the dumpster....getting out a soccer ball.  Here is a picture of him coming out.

Crescent Roll Apple Pie

* 2 tubes of crescent rolls
* caramel bits
* 2 Granny Smith apples

Bake at 350 for 11-14 minutes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

Banana Cashew Cookies

* 1 package (17.1 ounces) banana nut muffin mix, Krusteaz
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1/4 stick butter
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups chopped cashews

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix sugar, brown sugar and add milk, butter, and eggs.  
3.  Stir in cashews.
4.  Bake 13-18 minutes.

Ranch Bean Dip

Friday, July 12, 2013


While on holiday in Portland, we went to the legendary Powell's Bookstore.  I picked up a few gems there.  I started reading: 

A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor (Chris Seay)

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus (with Goat Cheese)

Chopped Taco Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing

I made this for church on Wednesday night, but didn't get to snap a picture.  It was my first time making Catalina dressing, and I loved the taste of it.  Best of all, I could pronounce all the ingredients I put into it!

On the Fourth of July, HH had an amazing time playing with the electric bug zapper.  I bought him his own..."The Executioner."  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Books I've Completed

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

Girl Meets God

10 Who Changed the World

God Loves Broken People: and Those Who Think They Aren't

Respectable Sins

Detroit: An American Autopsy 

Not By Sight

The Organic God

Fourth of July

Pie Eating Contest